Tuesday, May 5, 2009

River Ride

On the first day of May my husband, his parents, his sister and I took a pontoon boat trip up the Peace River. This trip was a present for my Father-in-Law. Captain Louie Desguin, a Punta Gorda native and owner of Punta Gorda River Boat Tours, piloted us up the river while telling tales of his youth on the river. He told us that parts of the river were used in the filming of Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller.

Captain Louie

Within minutes of casting off we spotted a small pod of dolphins.

The weather was perfect. Sunny and warm with a slight breeze. The banks of the Peace River are very much the same as when the Caloosa Indians lived here and when Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon landed, looking for the Fountain of Youth. The boat ride up the river was relaxing.

We saw many kinds of wildlife along the river. As well as the dolphins, we saw a couple of alligators, many nesting wood storks, cattle herons, tri-colored herons, ibis, moorhens, pelicans, an osprey and finally some manatees.

In the Peace River there are small islands that the birds use as rookeries. Our captain was able to pull the boat close to the islands to allow us to see the birds clearly. They were loud and stinky, but it was great to see them up close.

Baby Wood Storks

As part of the boat trip (but not included in the trip price), we had lunch at The Nav-a-Gator restaurant. Delicious seafood surrounded by Old Florida charm. The Nav-a-Gator reminded me of some of the places we used to frequent in the Keys. I ate a delicious grouper sandwich with sweet potato fries.

After lunch we boarded the boat and headed back down river. Along the way we stopped by another island rookery where we saw, heard and smelled more nesting birds. The boat trip was very nice and one I would highly recommend. My husband and I want to take some of the other boat trips Captain Louie has to offer.

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