|Find the dolphin?|
Collier Seminole State Park is an old, OLD state park. Remember our last visit here? We wrote about the HUGE black “walking” crane that was built in Grand Rapids Michigan and was used to dig the miles and miles of deep, wide canals that were dug for the fill dirt to build the Tamiami Trail as it crossed the swampy Everglades. The crane is still there – welcoming visitors to the park. The boat ramp and picnic area seems to be the newest and best-kept space with shelter covered picnic tables and spacious parking lot. The cement boat launch and adjoining canoe/kayak launch are used a lot. Except by one particular couple from Ohio – we watched them unload their armload of canoe gear and head to the stack of up-upside down canoes. Just about the same time, we noticed a slim dark shape slither into the water and move away from the shoreline. After a very short “discussion” – they gathered their gear and returned to their car. A teeny, tiny, 4-foot alligator kept them from a sunny afternoon exploring the waterway? Sheesh!
While the boat area was welcoming, the campground was still overcrowded. There were at least 6-8 campsites squeezed into an area that would be considered one at EG Simmons! Luckily we had a corner site! The “facilities”, while clean, were slipping in their conditions. And the dump station stunk!! But - - we were near to the beaches on Marco Island and Naples! On Marco Island we found our parking spot at the hotel complex where we’ve parked in the past. This year there was an attendant and we just told him that we were going to “Stilts” the bar and grill there on the beach. We strolled thru the open bar seating area and calmly opened the gate leading over the dune to the sprawling white sand beach. The beach was full of sun worshipers from the north, piles and piles of white shells and a splattering of Fighting Conch Shells. I tried my best to only gather the empty ones but I must confess – some that were still occupied ended up in my bag. Besides all the beach walkers and sunbathers we passed a mammoth flock of “bad haired” terns with their windswept look of black head feathers. Another group of strange looking birds sat huddled in the soft sand. There were hundreds of Black Skimmers - strange looking birds that have red bills that are tipped in black. Their lower beak is longer than their top beak. Too bad that H forgot to bring his camera. In Naples we found the fishing pier but the parking spot we located was at least a half-mile up the beach. We needed the walk and it was a beautiful afternoon.
A pallet of bright colored beach umbrellas populated the white sand, along with a plethora of even more sun worshipers - all facing the brilliance of the hot sun. The fishing pier stretched far out in the gulf, over ever deepening shades of aqua blue water.
It was lined with hopeful fishermen and several dolphins danced and dove all around the long wooden path. Pelicans floated near the collection of bobbers, hoping for a bit of a snack. Up on the roof of the shelter was a lone “bad hair” Tern who didn’t seem concerned about all the folks passing so close to his perch on high.