Mike & Joyces Travel logs

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Places Visited: La Belle, Ft Myers Beach


While this is the third time we have visited the Ft Myers area this is the first time we have explored Ft Myers Beach and the community that surrounds it.

On the mainland, at the foot of the bridge to Ft Myers Beach is a vibrant tourist community containing, charter fishing, waterfront restaurants, fish markets, marinas, shrimp boat docks, and boats that offer gambling trips and daily trips to Key West. One could easily spend days enjoying all that was offered. One day we will have to take that boat ride to Key West.



Joyce took this picture of Ft Myers Beach from the free municipal pier. It was a bit chilly on this day and people were avoiding the water.








This is another picture of Ft Myers Beach taken from the pier.









The picture to the right is of Ft Myers Beach Pier taken from the end of that pier.




This picture of Ft Myers Beach was taken from the top of the Matanzas Pass Bridge connecting the beach with Ft. Myers




These pictures were taken at Parrot Key Restaurant, Marina, Bar and general "good-time" party facility.














---------------------------------This is a gulf shrimper returning to port with a load of shrimp.








These gulf shrimp boats were in port unloading their catch of shrimp. Joyce took this picture of fresh shrimp being weighed for a customer at one of the seafood markets.



This hurricane Wilma damage to a marina building looked remarkably similar to the destroyed bingo building we saw a few days ago at the Seminole Indian Reservation. The twisted steel beams and supports look like the same contractor/steel supplier may have been involved. Total destruction of this whole building was still laying in place just like the hurricane left it.









The breeding plumage on these brown pelicans is evidence that the 'breeding-season" is upon us. Note the red in their bills. You will not see that color later in the season.














This pelican is also in breeding plumage. Note the chestnut color down the length of its neck in addition to the yellow crown. This one does not have the blood red in his bill




This close-up of a great blue heron highlights some of the coloration's visible in these beautiful birds.












These are manatee that have congregated in the warm water outfall from the Ft Myers power plant. It turned cold in Ft Myers and these manatee are doing what comes naturally, and that is congregate around the heater. Throughout most of the manatees range they rely on fresh water springs for these warm spots. However, in certain locations power plants provide a warm water source that is both warmer and more convenient to manatee looking to stay warm. These are not good pictures because the manatee weren't staying on the surface for photo opportunities. It was so cold they were staying submerged and only exposing their nostrils when surfacing long enough for a breath of air. Around 30-manatee were congregated in this canal today. Locals and tourist know that manatee congregate in the warm waters of this canal when cold fronts plunge temperatures into the 30's and 40's. Since this is an infrequent occasion crowds flock to "Manatee Park" a County Park located 1-mile east of I-75 on SR-80 to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures. Don't bother to stop by "Manatee Park" looking for manatee if it isn't cold. They will not be here. However, the park does rent kayaks in case you are interested in that.


This is the raceway filled with warm water output from the large power plant located in the background. Because of environmental reasons power plants can not release really hot water back into the environment. The power plant has a series of cooling canals that the really hot water runs through before being released at 81-degrees. It is this warm water that the manatee are attracted to when cold fronts roll across the Florida Peninsular.



One of the manatee seeking refuge in the warm water discharge canal was wearing a transmitter. We could see the transmitter from time to time when the manatee would approach the surface. The rest of the time, when the manatee was deeper, we could not see the transmitter. I never did see the manatee this transmitter was attached to. It must have been tethered to the manatee via a short length of rope. One of the naturalist on hand to answer questions had a fact sheet on this manatee and the information that had been gathered via the transmitter. This particular manatee had wandered up and down the west coast of Florida for several years while being tracked. It was interesting for the naturalist to read about where this manatee was on certain dates.


Until next week just remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix







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