My wife and I rented a boat this morning, hoping to gain a new perspective on Sarasota Bay; departing at 9AM, we also planned to dodge the afternoon heat and thunderstorms. As we followed the Intercoastal Waterway from Bradenton Beach to Sarasota, we soon learned that boating requires close attention to three factors: other boats, channel markers and the weather.
Most of the channel posts were used as perching sites by marine birds; brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants, laughing gulls and ospreys were the primary occupants. During our four hour tour, we saw most of the birds that reside along the Bay and gained a new appreciation for their fishing forays and their secluded outposts. We also encountered a few dolphins, one just off our bow.
Billowing thunderstorms, near Sarasota, sent us back to the north but we had acquired a new perspective on this fabulous ecosystem. Like climbing a mountain or crossing a desert, traveling to the center of a bay provides an intimate experience that is impossible to appreciate from its periphery. And, like all adventures in natural landscapes, this journey rewarded the body and the soul.