April 28 – 29, 2019
We’re quite pleased with our lodging, a four-bedroom home in Palma Sola that we found on VRBO. It’s located in a quiet neighborhood within walking distance of Palma Sola Bay, near Bradenton, Florida, but with the screened-in saline pool, we might want to spend most of our time here. It’s a treat to have my morning coffee by the pool.
On our first full day here, we drove to Anna Maria Island to spend some time at a beach near the northernmost part of the island. Although we didn’t swim, we did enjoy a leisurely walk, dipping our cold Minnesota feet into the warm Gulf waters.
The next day, while enjoying my coffee, I was serenaded by some Black-bellied Whistling Ducks perched on a power line near the house. They weren’t whistling when I saw them, rather they were raising quite a ruckus. Maybe they wanted a cup of coffee! Their call does sound like a whistle which I did hear in the distance. They are the only whistling ducks that perch in trees (or on power lines).
After breakfast, we headed south to Everglades City to enjoy an airboat ride. Before boarding the boat, we had a delicious lunch at The Camellia Street Grill, located just a few blocks from Everglades City Airboat Tours. I really do like being able to dine outdoors in nice weather.
The Airboat ride took us among a few of the thousands of Mangrove islands in Southwest Florida. The Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge contains 232 square miles of mangrove forest. The forest is home to shrimp, crab, many species of fish and birds, and alligators, of course. Mangrove trees are saline tolerant, thus frequently found near salt water.
We didn’t see any alligators, but our captain told us about a small park nearby where our luck would be better. The H.P. Williams Roadside Park has a short boardwalk overlooking a canal where we did, indeed, see a few alligators, along with some other wildlife.