Useppa ~Very Different Waters Indeed

I was still stewing over thinking that Charlotte Harbor was the Gulf of Mexico when the trawler docked at Useppa.

The sunlight reflected off impressive white structures lining the island. An American flag flew prominently atop what Captain Glenn said was once a Calusa Indian midden ~the tribe whose arrow maimed, later killing, Ponce de Leon.

There was certainly an air about the place, that for eternity, it had been a center of power and influence.

As I walked with Captain Glen and Ed beyond the docks, the front office gave hints to the days of Baron Colliers’ famed Izaak Walton Club, clearing, dredging, filling and building, to make available Florida’s most famous of Tarpon filled waters.

ca. 1906, courtesy  web site, Useppa

Looking around, I saw messages and awards written on Tarpon scales, enshrined in glass casings of an era long gone by. It made my heart ache for a time of healthier Florida waters, times when nutrient pollution, toxic-algae, and over-drainage were not killing our state. I decided be thankful for this looking-glass of history and enjoy a walk.

The island remained absolutely beautiful…and such strange and wonderful treasures! As we walked up the mound, I gasped at the wonder all around me.

I saw night-blooming cactus vines like hundreds of green ropes covering the huge ancient oaks trees; Spanish-moss swaying in a light breeze: an empty beach catching the colors of coming sunset; orchids and bromeliads blooming everywhere high and low; a gigantic banyan tree, a gift from Thomas Edison, standing like an aging hurricane-weathered sentinel – old limbs broken and reformed, arching over houses and sidewalks alike!

There were animals too. We met a friendly, stowaway orange cat that had arrived on a supply vessel and now was the mayor of the town. And also an old gopher turtle happily clipping grass with an awesome multi-entrance and exit gopher tunnel.

At the end of the sidewalk tour, the famed Collier Inn stood atop the ancient Indian mound looking out over the waters. It was beautiful yes, but I knew, in spite of the awe around me, with no tarpon jumping, those were very different waters, indeed.



Useppa resident speaks up:

Calusa Indians, Fl:

Historic Society, Useppa:

Izaak Walton Club, Collier:

Note Useppa Award from Captains For Clean Waters:

West Florida Sailing and Cruising School:

12 thoughts on “Useppa ~Very Different Waters Indeed

  1. What a wonderful, bittersweet trip. My Uncle had

    a place in Bonita Springs and loved to fish those waters. It’s such a beautiful part of Florida, I hope we will once again in our lifetime see healthy waters. Tell Ed I like his beard!

  2. Twenty years ago it was still beautiful waters. We need to act – as a country. The red tide affected the SW corner of Florida, but also all the people who visit there, and anyone catching the wind off the tide. The toxins are cumulative and known to cause ALS.

  3. If you REALLY want to see healthy waters you need understand nutriant pollution—toxic algae—and over drainage are NOT killing the water. Scientest who lie and say our fresh and brackish waters are healthy when there is NO calcium in them is who is killing our waters. All the baby creatures need calcium for life . The waters over there are differant only because they are not estuary waters. Because salt is a preservative nutriants do not break down like they do in fresh or brackesh water.Put the calcium in the brackish water estuaries and you bring back the life to the Gulf Of Mexico. The mighty menhadden and shrimp are the food source of the once abundant game fish.

  4. I hope one day it will go down in history that what our democratic state gov. has done is just as bad as what Stalin did to Ukraine in 1930. The lieing just has to stop.

  5. You are kidding right? Our state rep is Randy Fine and 2 years ago when He was running I handed him my fixing the lagoon paper., When he was elected I handed same paper to all political people who came to congradulate him. The next day his first meeting was with me. He looked like he was realy pissed because his eye was twiching. I gave my name and phone number but he never called. I came back in a couple of weeks and his secretary said it would be months before he could be available for another meeting. Before he got elected he was on tv saying they were wasting the 400 million that was supposed to go to the lagoon on astro turff so he got another 75 million. When the theiving basterds give all the money obtained by fraud back then I will go talk to them again. I have seen so many peoples lives ruined and they were forever labled a felon when they stole to survive . These good time charlys who are spending our tax dollars like drunken sailors can eat poop and die for all I care.

  6. You should get a bottle of white viniger so you can tell where calcium is. It will foam up when you pour viniger on it. Follow the calcium and you will see the conection it has with life. Believe me all liveing creatures know where the calcium is.

  7. This whole ordeal started up here because I could not get off work to put sand in and stop a fish kill—after I have told FWC —lagoon house –and everyone and anyone who had anything to do with the lagoon that all you had to do to stop a fish kill was put calcium carbonate sand in the water. Boy they saw an opertunity to rape the taxpayers and they seized it.As long as I have been cominting on your blog. I still read your saying nutriant pollution and overdrainage is killing our state.Your lagoon is dead as hell and where I live there are hundreds of thousands of creatures that depend on what I am doing.for their survival.

  8. If you want to hear all the dirt on Mr. Fine and company I am sure city of Palm Bay attorney Andrew Lannon who was fired by mr fine would be glad to get talk to an impartial listiner.

  9. When I went to Lagansk Ukraine on the border with Russia I was allways on my best behavior because I realized —weather I liked it or not — I represented America. I was probably the only American anyone there will ever see. Mr. fine has a Russian secretary”Anna” and I am sure his behavior will leave a lasting impression on her and her husband. I would like to see him thrown in prison to send a message to Russia . This is NOT how millionares are made. If you lie and steal from the citizens you will not be above the law. —You will go to prison where life will be hard because you will be hated by the other prisoners for what you did.

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