Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fish Fry and getting ready to move

With all the fish that Tim and the boys caught last week, we decided it was time to host a fish fry potluck for the resident volunteers and the rangers.

Tim was the fry-master, juggling dual deep fryers – one with fish and one with french fries.

Fish Fryers

I manned another small fryer for hush puppies and chicken strips, and Denise supervised the gluten-free option, with Shirley’s help.

Shirley & Denise

Denise and Shirley also did a wonderful job of decorating for our dinner party,

Centerpiece by Denise

and Gloria & Maryann set up the buffet table.

Maryann & Gloria arranging food

In addition to the fish, fries, and hush puppies, we had rice, beans, macaroni & cheese, salad, fruit, cornbread, coleslaw . . . and then there were the desserts!  Multiple pies and brownies . . . nobody left hungry!


Time to eat!

Everybody digs in!

In addition to all the great food, we had a wonderful gathering of friends – volunteers and park staff alike.

Tom & Katie

Deby & Ken











Corey & Laura










Maryann & PJ

Tom, Matt & Tim

The rest of this past week has been spent on getting ready to pack up and move north.  Nicolas washed and waxed the RV,

Day 55_Cleaning up

and got it all sparkling clean and ready to roll!


Tom wrapped up a few projects here at the park, and helped Nicolas check out the tires on all the vehicles.  Tomorrow we’ll finish cleaning up the RV and I’ll get the laundry done, and we’ll be ready to hit the road!

We’re excited to be on the move again, but will also miss all of our new friends here at Lovers Key.

Volunteer Conference

Last night we took a sunset ride to the beach with Deby & Ken, and enjoyed a spectacular view!


On the way home, we spotted a Night Heron in the canal.

Night Heron

As if they know we’re leaving, the manatees have been extra active this week.  This morning, Tom and I walked to the ranger station, and there were a group of about 10 manatees in the middle of the canal having quite the party!  It’s apparently mating season for manatees . . . too bad I didn’t have my camera with me!  Maybe they’ll be back out there tomorrow;  if not, I’ll just have to wait until we come back down here again!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Last Thursday, Tom and the boys planned a day of fishing with Tim, and they got an early start. 

The boys were prepared with their new “fishing shirts”, and ready to catch some fish!

Ready for some early morning fishing




The morning started out with a dense fog, but before long the sun had burned its way through, and it was promising to be a beautiful day on the gulf.




Bryce made the 1st catch of the day!

First catch of the day

Nicolas wasn’t having any luck, and despite trying several different locations, they had only caught one keeper by the time they picked up Denise and I at noon.

Tim put Bryce in the driver seat, and we headed out into the gulf to try their luck at May’s Reef.

Captain Bryce

After showing him how to read the gauges, he set him loose behind the wheel!

Tim showing Bryce how to read the gauges

We arrived at May’s Reef, encouraged by the sight of many other fishermen there,

More fisherman

Dolphins chasing the fish away

but a little discouraged to see that some dolphins had taken up residence in the same area – they had been following the guys around all morning!

They didn’t have any better luck here, so we moved on.


We cruised past Ft. Myers Beach,

Ft. Myers Beach

our beach at Lovers Key State Park,

Lovers Key south beach









and Bonita Springs,

Bonita Springs

on our way to Little Hickory Island.

Hickory Island



Denise and I got off the boat to do a little shelling on the beach, where we were greeted by this guy.

The guys stayed on the boat and continued to try to catch some fish, without much luck.

Trying another fishing hole

The water in this area was shallow and clear, and Denise and I found lots of great shells.  It was starting to look like that was all we were going to be going home with!

Crystal Clear water

There should have been fish around, if the pelicans were any sign . . .

Pelican diving








Bird gathering at the beach

but the fish just weren’t biting!



From Little Hickory Island, we travelled up the canal – past hotels and homes on the beach,



  Estero Bay channel

and back into Estero Bay.  They tried the spot where Nick caught the big grouper last time, but again the dolphins were hanging around, scaring away all the fish!


The dolphins found us again

We eventually went back to the same place where they caught all the trout and whiting last time, and finally started pulling in some fish!

Pompano, but too small to keep

In fact, they started catching so many fish that Nicolas and Bryce had to start taking them off the hook by themselves!


Even Denise got into the act and caught a few!  Tom and I just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery – watching boats go by,


Jetski Tour











spotting dolphins and birds,

Cormorant taking off

and enjoying the setting sun!


The guys were finally having fun, catching lots of fish, that they just couldn’t bring themselves to stop!  They thought they were done when they ran out of bait, but just then one of the charter captains came by and gave them his leftovers!  Just a little while longer!


Watching the sonar fish-finder, we could see the non-stop parade of fish passing under the boat, and as soon as somebody cast their line they were pulling in a whiting or a trout.

This one is a whiting – they look very similar, but the whiting’s mouth is on the bottom of his head (looks a little bit like a shark), whereas the trout’s mouth is in the middle of its head, and they have 2 big fangs on top.


As the sun set over the trees, they finally ran out of bait and we were done for the day.

Running out of time

They ended up with 28 keepers – not a bad catch considering how badly the day had started out!  Thanks for another beautiful day on the water, Captain Tim!!

Captain Tim