June 3, 2011
Cabbage Key: Wild Side
While Cabbage Key, just south of Sarasota, is a small island, it's full of wildlife --- much to my delight! This fellow is a gopher tortoise. They've been on North America for 60 million years, making it one of the oldest species in existence. Because they burrow, their dens become homes for many other animals like skunks, snakes, armadillos, rabbits and others. Rather hospitable, don't you think?
Apparently, the spokes-gecko for Geico Insurance moonlights as a nature trail tour guide on Cabbage Key. He really wanted me to know I was standing next to a gumbo limbo tree.
While taking a break from the hustle and bustle of island life and playing a hand of cards, I glanced upward (okay...perhaps I was looking heavenward for answers because inexplicably I was losing) and (voila!) I noticed this osprey perched 15 feet up in a tree staring back at me. Although it was a busy holiday weekend with lots of boaters coming and going, I think I was the only one to spot him. And, he knew that I knew. A few minutes later, he took off.
No boat excursion is complete without seeing dolphins, and this trip did not disappoint. A pod of dolphins magically appeared as a late afternoon rain shower rolled in. They weren't easy to photograph! Tom the boat captain was kind of enough to putter around for a few minutes to help me get a good look at 'em, but this was the best I could do. If you ever need a small charter boat, I recommend Tom. He leaves out of Pineland Marina and will pick you up and drop you off when you want without a set schedule, which is really nice for those of us who like to explore without worrying about racing back to a cattle boat after a relaxing day on an island.