View from the Marina
Florida’s Four Seasons
By Barb Hansen
The full moon in late September this year was as big and as beautiful as it can be and it was accompanied by the most delicious breeze from the north, a harbinger of well-deserved, cooler weather for those of us who live in Southwest Florida.
Now for at least nine months more the climate will be exceptionally good, proving again the area deserves its “paradise” title.
This is the time of the year when I have to remind myself not to phone friends up north and brag about our weather, especially not when they’re getting cold fronts and, with autumn’s shorter days, must turn on their car lights at 4:30 p.m.
People say Florida doesn’t have seasons. That’s incorrect.
The temperature differential may not be as dramatic in Fort Myers as it is in Fort Wayne, but signs of seasonal change are just as unmistakable if you are tuned in to the sights and sounds of the subtropics.
Winter is wonderful, of course. I think of it as the season of roseate spoonbills, herons, egrets and wood storks feeding on mud flat at low tide. Natives get chilly sometimes but those who know how cold it gets in other climes are comfortable and so grateful they are not shoveling snow. Personally, I like a wind chill of 75 degrees and break out the winter jacket when the temperature drops into the 60’s.
By late March, the cold fronts seem to lose their punch and the flora and fauna of spring emerge. April and May are a special time of the year when tired, tiny tanagers and warblers hitch rides and a rest on your boat railing before flitting off in search of a berry tree on Sanibel Island. Our eyes and noses delight in the flowering trees — fragrant yellow frangipani, fire-red poinciana, lavender-blue jacaranda.
Summer arrives with the first thunderstorm and the `full moon in June’ as the saying goes. Shy cereus cactus flowers make their one-night-only appearances in June. Summer mornings are clear and clouds build throughout the day. On the water, the tarpon are rolling and a fishing frenzy ensues in the waters of Southwest Florida.
Summer is relaxing on the flybridge, in the shade of a Bimini, with a cool drink in hand, watching a pod of dolphins circle in on their fresh fish entrÃ©e. This is the “low” season. Okay. Whatever.
I love it here in Southwest Florida, as you can tell. Still, I’ve come to the point of view that no one place is perfect unless you make it so. I like to read and when I’m wrapped up in a great novel I don’t care where I am so long as the chair is comfortable. In fact, if it were snowing outside and I was close to a crackling fire, that would be just dandy.
But dyed in the wool boaters logically migrate toward Florida (and they will leave their woolens behind). Snow skiers probably want to be close to the Rockies, High Sierras, or the Cascades. Surfers prefer the Pacific. We have traveled to all of those places and beyond, but as Dorothy said, `There’s no place like home.’
So maybe no one place is perfect but, like those snowbirds on the yacht pulpit, we can fly to some other place and suit our changing weather whims.
As a Floridian who spent her first 20 years in the Midwest, I can tell you that I feel the change of seasons in the Sunshine State just as much as I did back in Indiana. Whatever the season, Florida suits me just fine.
Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters, and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 1-800-262-7939 or visit http://www.swfyachts.com/