January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013 Day 255
Pelican Bay, Cayo Costa State Park, FL
Total miles to date: 4466.9

At 11:00 we left our slip at the Boca Grande Marina and cruised a very short distance of 4.5 miles to Pelican Bay to an anchorage.  We had read that this was a popular spot and confirmed it when we saw at least 20 boats anchored here.  It is a beautiful bay and has room for many boats!   

Pelican Bay borders Cayo Costa State Park, an island reachable only by boat. There is a tour/ferry boat that drops off visitors and others come by dinghy or very small boats.  The 2400 acre park is on one of Florida’s largest unspoiled barrier islands. Cayo Costa, the name given to the island by Spanish traders means “Key by the Coast”.  The park offers hiking, camping, fishing, shelling, and swimming.  There is a free tram that takes visitors to the beach from the ranger station.  Bicycles can also be rented.

Obey the warning!
Walking the beach
After lunch we took the dinghy over to the island, paid our $2.00/person fee to visit the island and then took the tram to the beach. We spent almost an hour walking along the beach, picking up a few shells and watching the shore birds.  Then we took a path to a lagoon and walked along it for a while.  There are signs warning people not to swim in this area because of alligators, so Joyce did not feel too comfortable walking along this marshy pond!  The ranger told us an alligator was spotted earlier today!  We caught the tram back to the bayside of the island and then took our dinghy back to our boat. There are two other Looper boats here and we visited them each from our dinghy. 

We will stay here another day which seems to be the pattern of several boaters we met – no one is in a hurry to leave this beautiful spot!  If the weather is good we may go back to the park and rent bicycles tomorrow …and avoid the alligators!