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Thoughts on Summertime Western Florida Cruising by Captain Barb Hansen

Southwest Florida YachtsCaptain Barbara Hansen is a long time friend of yours truly, and the co-owner of Southwestern Florida Yachts, the premiere chartering agency in southwestern Florida, and a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

View from the Marina
It’s Summertime and the Cruising is Easy
By Barb Hansen
July 2011
I was browsing you-know-what and read something a parent posted online. I Googled manatees. It was about Florida manatees, of course, but this entry reminded me about the wonderful age of 10.
And, may I suggest, it also was about why cruising in Florida ought to be on the summer vacation to-do list for every young family.
It was posted on an online form and the parent wrote, “We just got home from our wonderful trip to Sanibel for the first time. We saw a mother manatee nursing two babies near the lighthouse close to the shore on Friday Aug. 7… She also had about five other babies waiting their turn just poking their little noses out of the water. What an awesome sight for my 10 yr old daughter and me.”
This was an awesome sight and awesome times 100, I think, because it was shared by a parent and 10-year-old. Ten-year-olds – I’m sure you know this – are the perfect age for an experience like this but, hey, I’m sure this would be a wonderful thing to see for all children above the age of reason up to and including their parents.
The thing is, seeing manatees and frolicking dolphins in the wild is not at all unusual in Florida in the summer, especially when you’re on a boat. They call this the “low season” but manatees and dolphins don’t know that. For Florida’s wildlife, summer is the high season.
By the way Sanibel, mentioned by the parent of the 10-year-old, is one of our famous Gulf barrier islands and it helps shape the popular, protected cruising corridors on either side of Pine Island.
Here at Southwest Florida Yachts the summer pace is a tad more relaxed after a busy “high” season of chartering vessels to snowbirds escaping the cold up north. In the summer the calls often come from moms and dads asking what summer cruising is like because this is summer vacation and their kids are out of school. They’ve done Disney, and they are so over Disney.
Oh it’s very good, I say. Then I’m off on a summertime is the best time riff. Cruising is the just right thing for a family with children to do on summer vacation.
I tell them about seeing manatees and dolphins in the wild. I tell them about seeing a thousand wading birds feeding on a shallow flat and a thousand stars twinkling from the dark sky at night. It’s summertime. Living is easy. Fish are jumping.
I like showing off our lovely part of Florida to visitors during the low season and I’ve always thought it way too sad that so many fail to come here at a time of the year when Florida really shines.
This is “Real Florida,” as the tourism people call it. It really is. And the cruising is easy.
Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts

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