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Calusa Backwater Adventures With Calusa John

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On: Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 9:39AM | By: John Paeno

We had a great time at the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival (Bokeelia, Pine Island) this year! The weather was windy but the sun was out and the temperatures were in the 60s. Over one hundred people came down to enjoy the, tours, stories, and free giveaways. Sixty-eight people entered the drawing for the RTM Tempo kayak ($1000 value) and a couple of new Pine Island home owners won (Jack and Liz). You can see it on our You Tube site. We took out two Halloween night Ghost Paddles to watch the stars and hear stories with the skies cooperating we saw, shooting stars, satellites, and some things you have to take the tour and hear the stories to explain. Nick and Tony Paeno provided classical and folk guitar music.

There were booths from Backwater Outfitters, Calusa Ghost Tours, Snook Cowboy, Natives Gems and Rocks, Nautical Mile Magazine, FWC Research, Pine Island Mariners, Pappy Player and his walking sticks, and the Blueway Van. We got power from Russell Smith and his solar generator; there was enough power to run a house. I plan on replacing my gas generator with one and cut my energy cost. Going GREEN does not just mean saving a tree, it also means saving money. Initial investment is higher but running to get gas during an emergency can be pretty expensive also. Gas stations run out of gas, people get tense, fights break out, gas generators are noisy, and they produce deadly fumes. Solar is a clean and efficient means of generation in the 21st century. There are, tax incentives, energy savings, and in some cases you can even sell power back to the energy companies. But back to the event, I would like to thank and recognize the many organizations that sponsored or gave giveaways to the event, RTM Kayaks, Southwest Capital Bank, Native Gems and Rocks, Backwater Outfitters, Snook Cowboy, Calusa Blueway Festival, Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, Randell Research Center, Nautical Mile Magazine, DOA artificial bait, Tow Boat US, Moore Enterprises, Captain Con's, Lazy Flamingo, Bocilla Seaport, Four Winds Marina, Calusa Ghost Tours, Nick and Tony Paeno.

It is seldom that the people behind the scenes are recognized for their efforts. After the festival I had to take a trip to the Great Gray North and visit my family. I generally don't like to go north this time of year but I would only get one chance to celebrate my parent's 70th wedding anniversary and I wasn't going to miss it. Our hotel was overlooking the Oswego River and I remembered what it was like fishing in the North Country. A couple of fishermen were down on the seawall all dressed in their cold weather Carharts (37 degrees with snow squalls)looking like little kids all bundled up and barely able to move. At this point I thought of the fishing I had done in Pine Island Sound just before taking this trip. I was wearing shorts and wading in the water, my kayak was up on the little sandy beach of a deserted island. I caught a 26 ½ inch red fish and 30 inch Snook and I was never cold. During the stay in the north I visited my parents (my dad is 92 and mom is 90), going outside for me was not an option. Just to go next door I had to put on 40 pounds of clothes. Which brings up another question I have always wondered about? Doctors tell us that we are fat and unhealthy if we carry around an extra 40 pounds. Well what if it isn't fat but clothes? Is it still unhealthy? I think so.

Just as a side note, when the French and English settled in the Carolinas they employed a group of Iroquois, the Erie from the north to harass and capture the Spanish Indians of Florida. But these Indians proved too hard to handle and were replaced by the Creek. The Iroquois threw the Erie out of the confederation and they were one of the first tribes gone. They also were some of the first snowbirds. Happy Holidays and peace to all Until next time Pictures courtesy of the Nautical Mile Magazine. If you would like to take a Calusa Backwater Adventure or rent a kayak or canoe from us call 239-541-2532. We deliver anywhere on Pine Island and many places in Cape Coral and Ft Myers. "You request we do the rest" To see our adventures go to and search calusajohn.

Visit our websites at or or email me at John Paeno is owner/operator of Calusa Ghost Tours and co-owner of Calusa Backwater Adventures. He also is a staff writer for the Nautical Mile Magazine of Lee, Collier, and Charlotte counties. search Calusa John


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