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Calusa Backwater Adventures - July 2010

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On: Fri, Jun 18, 2010 at 9:32AM | By: John Paeno

Oil Spill and Fishing Pine Island Sound When I was a kid, I grew up watching TV shows like, “Lost in Space,” “Star Trek,” and “Buck Rogers in the 21st Century.” I read books like “War of the Worlds” and saw the future through the eyes of their creations. As Boomers we saw these works of fiction become reality. Today many fictional things of the 50s and 60s are now reality. Space stations, space ships to the moon, mini discs, and cell phones are real.

But the one thing that seems to elude us is a clean, cheap power source. It is said that “If man can imagine it, he can do it.” So why is clean, cheap power not part of today? Why do millions of gallons of oil have to be drilled from a mile down in the ocean where we do not have the technology to make a timely repair? Why do we in the 21st Century still depend on fossil fuel? It seems ironic, doesn’t it? As a million gallons of oil disgorges into the Gulf of Mexico each day and billions of dollars are being spent for cleanup and in litigation, I wonder how far we could have advanced in alternate renewable energy with that money.

There is a saying: “The best trick the Devil performed was convincing man he does not exist;” and I think that the rhetoric about fossil fuel being our only choice is the same thing. Many countries today are working to convert to alternate energies. Even our own state of Nevada is trying to become the solar capital of the world, enticing solar-related companies to come and set up shop there. They get 300 solar days a year and want to take advantage of it. I hear people say things like it is not efficient enough yet or feasible under today’s use. Bull! That is also part of the lie. Just imagine what just ten billion dollars (this is less than the estimated cost of the Gulf oil spill) could do to develop and implement alternative energies resources in this country. Then imagine again if you will if we spent yearly what we spend now on research and development of fossil fuel (gas powered engines are one of the most inefficient engines used today) on alternatives.

Over the past month I have spent each morning paddling Jug Creek and Back Bay. I launch at the Bocilla Sea Port behind the fishing pier (Bokeelia, Pine Island, FL). I go out before the sun comes up and get to witness the beginning of the day. While there I fish and catch some Snook, Red Fish, Trout, and Tarpon, just to mention a few of the big ones. This past month I caught a 26" and 28" Red Fish and a lot in the 21" range. I also caught a 28" Sea Trout. So you get the idea, but what I also get to see and know is the wildlife.

I say good morning to the pod of dolphins that cruises by me each morning. Then welcome the manatee back from their winter as they return to the outer islands for the summer. A family of four otters like to hunt at sunrise and I see and hear them chattering to each other as they go from mangrove island to island. When I get home I watch in TOTAL HORROR as the oil spill continues to grow and consume the Gulf. Now they have closed the offshore fishing from Charlotte Harbor north. So many people who used to make their living doing something they loved in nature now clean up oil spill.

At the time of this writing over 500 water birds have died and uncounted numbers of fish and marine life are gone and will not be replaced. There is a 22 square mile glob of underwater oil sludge drifting in the Gulf—Black Death killing everyplace it visits. I worry that one of these mornings when I go out everything will be dead. I normally do not like to get all gloom and doom, but what I see unfolding in the northern Gulf is nothing less than terrifying to me, and I believe many of you. I feel helpless and can only stand by and watch; it’s like a train wreck happening before my eyes. I no longer buy any BP products and urge you all to do the same; they have made it clear they don’t care about us.

We are sponsored by and endorse RTM Kayaks and Canoes. You can learn more about us at or call us at 239-938-5342 Pine Island and 941-949-9156 in Bonita Springs. You can 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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