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Calusa Backwater Adventures With Calusa John - November, 2009

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On: Tue, Nov 10, 2009 at 9:17AM | By: John Paeno

The signs are all here of an early winter. I have most recently spotted roseate spoonbills, kingfishers, and great horned owls. The owls fly down from the great gray north of Canada and northern US and these snowbirds make a journey of 1,000 to 2,000 miles every year. They already have lodging set up and fly in and nest for the season. I spotted a bald eagle by its nest which means it won't be long before little eagles arrive. The mosquitoes have calmed down but the no-see-ums are still around. This is the time of year everyone starts thinking about Florida. The cold gray rainy days in the north become colder as each day passes. The sun on the rare occasion it does peak through the gray dreary clouds does not have any heat in it. Then it gets colder.

The rain changes to snow and you only go out for necessity. You think about warmer and exotic places. This time of year our sunny beaches, warm water, and fishing are tremendous. Over the last month I caught slot and over the slot Snook and Redfish every day I have gone out. Our temperatures have dropped out of the 90s and the days have been great on the water. If you like to fish this is a great time to come here. If you like the sound of screaming drag and the sight of a Snook tail walking on the end of your line this is the place you want to be. Not only do we have great saltwater estuaries but the rivers and lakes hold some of the best freshwater game fish you will ever encounter. We recently paddled the Imperial River in Bonita Springs and had a tremendous time.

From the upper part of the river with the old Florida cypress trees and knees to Estero Bay and Mound Key we paddled and we walked the ancient mounds of the Calusa on Mound Key. This was once the center of the Calusa world. From the top of this mound in 1513 a Calusa king ordered the attack on Ponce De Leon. Eight years later Ponce came back for his revenge and from the top of this mound again the Calusa king orchestrated the down fall of Ponce. It was in Estero that Ponce was hit with a "Calusa dart" (arrow thrown from a throwing stick) in the thigh and retreated from there to Cuba where he died from the infection caused by the wound. While paddling this past month we encountered a manatee mother and calf which is a really great thing to experience. It won't be long before the manatee start heading back up into the rivers and around the fresh water springs as the temperatures fall. You will be able to take kayak trips to see them at their congregation spots. For those of you that love nature you can never have this kind of experience in a zoo or theme park. All our animals are from the wild and not brought in for your entertainment. On the contrary I often feel it is the other way around. When an 8-foot long shark cruises past you while you are sitting on your kayak, or a manatee scratches his back on the bottom of your kayak, or dolphin comes up to you and wants the fish you just caught, then you start to realize we are in their world, not they in ours.

This year is going to be another year to remember in southwest Florida and I invite you to enjoy it with us. We are endosred and sponsored by RTM Kayaks and Canoes For additional stories about historical Pine Island, contact John Paeno Calusa Ghost Tours at 239-938-5342 or visit us on the web at or or see all our videos at by searching calusajohn If you have pictures or a story or legend of the sound to share, John would love to hear from you.


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