So, after spending a nice quiet couple days on Chokoloskee Island it was time to join the land of the living again. Our drive today was only 1 hour so we still had the rest of the day to do stuff, which was great.
After checking in and setting up we hopped on our bicycles and started to explore. We had a nice 32 km round trip ride into Marco Island and back. Marco Island is a land mass with as many boat canals as roads. It is mostly residential so not a lot to do! When we cycled through Naples, the biggest impression this area left on us was that there is A LOT of money here! So many Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Jags make the Mercedes and BMW’s look like poor people cars.
Other then just cycling around and exploring the Naples area we also did a few touristy things. We had to see the manatees. They are an endangered species, therefore protected under state law . We did have a very good sighting on one of our cycles as we were standing on a bridge and noticed the “footprint” of the manatee in the water coming at us. It slowly glided through the
water and without looking at us swam by underneath the bridge and was gone! One of the” touristy things” was a manatee sightseeing excursion where we were able to get up close and personal with the “cow of the sea”. On the excursion, we did get to see lots of manatees in the lagoon/marina where we started the tour but the two highlights were the mother
and baby manatees and when one manatee decided to check us out and played with our boat! It swam around us and just kept rolling over and over, adorable! It was sad to see the damage in the form of scars on their backs from propellers of boats. These are very large, plant eating mammals that can get up to 3 meters in length and 500 kg in weight. We then had a nice float through the canal and had some good sightings of herons and ibis’s before calling it a day and cycling home.
Our other “touristy event” was an evening sunset sail on a catamaran to watch the famous sunsets of the Gulf of Mexico. The sailing was very light but the captain was good, the boat was very nice, the beer and wine free-flowing and the two
couples from New York State made the evening very enjoyable. Thank you Cindy, Pete, Maria and Bob! We had a few dolphins come by and then at sunset a glass of California “Champagne” was drunk by all. The evening was capped off with a great dinner with our 4 new friends after the sail. Oh, the sunset was great too!
The Naples area also featured some other islands as well, Sanibel Island being on of the more famous ones. So, to get there we decided to head over on the Harleys instead of our bicycles. We had a very nice drive along the coast north of Naples, through Fort Myers Beach and over the causeway out to Sanibel.
We did not spend much time on the island but stopped at the beach by the lighthouse and then did a nice loop before heading
back towards home. This took us by Tin City in downtown Naples and the timing was perfect for happy hour at Pinchers. Some steamed clams and raw oysters then washed down by some good margaritas.