Florida’s natural wonders are as tied up in her waterways as the sun and the air fill each day. Experiencing time on the water brings one close to nature, dipping your soul into the breath of life, immersing ones self into the joys of the purest form of enjoyment and knowing what truly is possible. Skim across the waters surface and imagine what lies beneath. Spot a sea bird calling over head and another diving for a meal of fresh fish, then looping overhead in a display of pride while trying to keep the catch to himself. Spy a dolphin’s dorsal grace from below, arching back into the water and waiting for it to appear again.
This is what Charlotte Harbor’s Gulf Islands are all about. Spots of sand and shore dotting the edge of the great Gulf of Mexico. Home to the birds of the air and sea, playground of manatee and dolphins, the ocean’s nursery where life begins and cultivates each new generation of sea life. Mangroves edge the water, a harmony of natural beauty and wild abandon.
Waters rich with life, sustenance and mystery. Here among the islands, shores, beaches, and watery-ways you’ll discover a natural beauty so intense you’re sure to carry it with you for many years to come. A peace so still and powerful it will settle into your soul as if home.
If you’re in search of such a place, Grande Tours will lead the way. This kayaking outfitter set along a quiet road through this rustic and wild outback of Florida’s civilization edge, places you in the heart of it all. Owned and operated by a character right out of Hemingway, the staff and setting are ideal for such a journey.
You do not have to be a pro nor do you need to know a lot about the waters or what you’re doing. Your guides and staff will get you into the right boat, then take your tour group across calm waters, pearly clear so you can see the bottom of these shallows. Learn about the birds overhead and hear how dolphin pods are known to gather round sometimes. Watch for Pelican Island, a wild-spot in the center of it all, off on the horizon. See that white sandy beach? It’s not sand, but a yearly gathering of thousands of white pelicans and if you’re lucky, perhaps a group will be coming in as you paddle these waters.
Now slip into the truest wilderness of these parts; the mangroves. A river channel cut into the thick underbrush of the spindly woods lets you coast and glide and work your way easily into this depth of natural beauty. Keep your eyes pealed for life and try to figure where to place your paddle on this part of the adventure. Its at once breath taking and exciting as you move like a wild animal or bird through this thick cover.
Break away from the group some, let those go ahead and the others come behind and on your return trip, glide almost alone out here, where the air is fresh and clean, where the birds play overhead in life’s daily ritual of survival, watch for the break in the smooth surface and see what comes up, and enjoy time here alone, discovering what peace really is all about.
This is Charlotte Harbor’s Gulf Island area. Where wild meets civilization at its outreaches, and where cars may be passing only a few hundred yards away, but you’re a million miles away in a place all your own. This is the wild of Florida and her coast. This is peace.