These are pictures from a day trip we made in March of 2004. We headed south to Boca Grande, which is just south of Tampa.
Boca Grande Pass is on the Gulf coast of Florida at the mouth of the Charlotte Harbor. It is the deepest natural ocean pass in Florida, and is famous for Tarpon Fishing. The beautiful Tarpon fish congregate there in masse in the spring and early summer. When we lived in Tampa, we had a large boat and used to go out diving in the gulf regularly but never made it to Boca during Tarpon Season. There are hundreds of boats in the pass, the current is ripping, Tarpon are jumping, Sharks are getting the Tarpon before they can release them, and everyone there is trying to catch the Tarpon. It’s a madhouse!. It just looked way too congested for us, but it does look like fun. I guess the best thing is to go on a charter boat, if you could afford it! We have been lucky enough to see Tarpon while diving and they very beautiful fish. They are shiny silver in color and very large. They are an incredible site to see underwater. I think the first ones we ever saw was while snorkeling off the beach in Jupiter, Florida. I probably have some photos of them somewhere. One day I intend to scan my 35mm underwater photos and I will post some of them.
These are some pictures we took that day. It was a beautiful warm sunny day with an incredible blue sky. I remember it well.
There was a house that had this huge tree that was covered in large thick waxy looking red flowers. I never saw another tree like it and couldn’t find out what kind of tree it was. The flowers were larger than my hand and a lot of petals had fallen down on the ground. It was a beautiful tree.
Accessible only by boat-there is a ferry you can take to the island.
I believe this is Gasparilla Island State Park .
The water was sure pretty that day.
The Gulf coast of Florida has some beautiful beaches. The water is calmer, with less wave action. The East (Atlantic) coast is pretty but there is more wave action and the water gets deep much faster. For leisurely swimming, the Gulf side is better.
That day we visited Don Pedro Island SP, Gasparilla Island SP, & Stump Pass Beach SP. The water was beautiful and clear but we couldn’t find a causeway or anyplace we could easily launch the kayaks. We didn’t want to have to cart them a mile to get into the water and this area appears to cater more to residents and people staying in the resorts than the locals or day tourists! In the Tampa/St Pete/Clearwater area there are any number of places you can park your car, and put in a kayak or just drop a fishing line in the water. There are also numerous trails for hiking and biking, but in this area we couldn’t find anything like that. We never were able to get back with the kayaks to try to find a good launch spot. It’s still on our to-do list. The best place we found to kayak was at Stump Pass Beach State Park.
It was a beautiful day. We miss Florida, even with all its traffic and hurricanes!