Cayo Costa State Park
26°41’07.96″N 82°15’10.43″W elev 6 ft
My beloved boyfriend took me to Pine Island and Cayo Costa State Park for my birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.
That thar is our handsome inflatable Advanced Elements tandem kayak. It’s parked on top of an island made up of crushed oyster shells. The oysters served at the restaurants on Pine Island are fantastic! No wonder the Calusa had the highest population density of south Florida! The Calusa were Native Americans who inhabited the coast and inner waterways of Florida’s southwest coast as far back as 500 CE.
And there’s Ollie in his jersey; cute and functional, it prevents him from getting covered in sticky burs. See all the oyster shells!
I love knicker nuts, which is what you’re looking at in this picture. Inside those spiky shells are incredibly hard, heather-grey nuts, roughly spherical, striped, about an inch in diameter. They’re used in jewelry in the Caribbean. If you crack them open with a hammer, you see that the shell is made up of multiple layers and you find a flat, round white seed inside.
We had a picnic lunch and this way our view; it’s Boca Grande.
Isn’t he a handsome devil… he must have driven the female sea urchins crazy in his day (sea urchins do, in fact, have separate male and female sexes… I looked it up).
The light wasn’t great, so I had to doctor these pictures. Here I tried to enhance the light glistening off of the water. See the hungry little plover?
Sea Oats, so important to barrier island ecology. Picking or disturbing sea oats is punishable by fine in Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina (according to Wikipedia). Just visible in the background are the fuzzy tops of sable palmettos.
There were osprey e-ver-y-where!
And here you have some Cayo Costa State Park cabins.
Note the screened in porches.
Between the cabins and camp ground is a gathering place with sheltered benches and beach access and this case exhibiting Cayo Costa’s sea shells.
“Wildlife You May See”
The lagoon, just past the camp sites… very convenient for hungry gators.
These itty bitty flowers perfumed the entire island!
And finally, the ferry that took us back to our cabin on Pine Island.