Working Waterfront Tour Wednesdays

Ft. Myers Beach Waterfront Tour

Shrimp Boats
photo credit: ostegobay.org

Did you know that the Fort Myers Beach Shrimping fleet is the largest commercial fishing fleet in the Gulf of Mexico? Shrimping, known as “Pink Gold”, contributes millions of dollars to our economy.

Here is your chance to learn first hand about the Commercial Fishing Industry.

Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center offers a Three-Hour Guided Tour. The Tour includes a 1 1/2 hour guided visit at the Science Center includes a history of the industry and area ecosystems with many exhibits. The Tour continues with a visit to the commercial fishing industry docks, including Erickson & Jensen Supply House, Trico Shrimp loading dock and Beach Seafood. See how the boats are unloaded, the trawl doors are built, the shrimp nets are hand-sewn, the seafood is processed, and other important factors used in this unique industry. Bring your camera for a memorable experience!  Click for the Waterfront tour schedule.

When: Every Wednesday morning in season.

Cost: $15.00 per adult; $10.00 for children over 6 years of age.

Call for reservations: (239) 765-8101.

Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet

Shrimp fleet Fort Myers Beach

Annual Blessing of the Fleet
Photo Credit: St. Raphael’s Church

The annual “Blessing of the Fleet” is Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, to be held at 1100 Shrimp Boat Lane on San Carlos Island at approximately 2:30 PM. The Shrimp Fleet owners have once again invited St. Raphael’s by the Sea Anglican Church to host the 2013 Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet. The first Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet took place on December 21, 1952, when the Rt. Rev. H.T. Loutitt, the Bishop of South Florida Episcopal Diocese conducted the blessing at the Columbia Fish Company Docks. Colorfully docorated shrimp bloats passed by to receive their blessing while the Beach School Glee Club sang and the Master of Ceremonies, William R. Rumpf, lowered an anchor of white gladioli on the waters in memory of the crewmen lost at sea. In the 60 years since that first blessing, the ceremony has become a tradition on the island.  The date for the Blessing is scheduled by the shrimpers each year in accordance to the first full moon closest to Easter without being during Holy Week. The Blessing of the Fleet is a favorite local celebration that brings visitors from all over. Vendors will have their booths open from noon to 5:00 PM. The popular shrimp eating contest will begin at 1:30pm. Make sure you don’t miss this fun tradition that brings folks from all walks of life together. Come and walk the docks with the Bishop! Call 239-765-1828 for more information, or click here.

Ahoy Mateys! Pirates return to Fort Myers Beach for Columbus Day!

Pirate Fest Fort Myers Beach 2012

Pirates “Invade” Fort Myers Beach (photo credit: naplesnews.com)

The 7th Annual Fort Myers Beach Pirate Fest will take place along Old San Carlos Boulevard and throughout the beach region during Columbus Day Weekend on October 5th, 6th, and 7th, 2012. For four days, the area beneath the Matanzas Bridge will be transformed into the nostalgic pirate port of Tortuga, and will include hundreds of professional pirates from across the state and beyond, bringing one of the most exciting events of the year to Fort Myers Beach.

Throughout the weekend, kids’ activities will include interactive games with pirates, a treasure hunt, sea skirmishes, stage shows and costume contests. For adults, there will be a pirate ball and costume contest on Friday night, and a weekend-long pub crawl.

This year’s Festival will provide more entertainment than ever before for the whole family, featuring a Pirate Invasion, Parade, Fight Ring and a Ship-to-Shore Battle with black powder cannon and small arms fire! The festival will also feature two stages of live entertainment from some of the best Pirate Crews, Actors, Storytellers, and Musicians from across the state of Florida.Events / Things To Do Ft. Myers Beach

The festival itself supports the Fort Myers Beach Little League, and many of the local performers take advantage of the event to raise money for charitable causes. Although admission is free, a donation of “a buck-an-ear” ($2.00) is suggested.

Event hours are 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  For more information, check out Pirate Fest’s website or Facebook page.

Looking for accommodations for the Pirate Fest? Cocoplum Beach House is located right on Fort Myers Beach, minutes from the festival location.

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder Mobile App – listing of nearby parks in the palm of your hand

We just discovered a fantastic (and free) iPhone App — Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder from the American Park Network, which provides users with a searchable database of every single state and federal public land in America. You can search the database based onImage location and the activity of your choice; whether you want to go boating, fishing, hiking, cycling, or even bird watching in a National Park in Florida (or any other state), the Oh, Ranger! app is a great resource for information.

Once users have chosen where they want to go, Oh, Ranger! helps as a virtual guide. It gives users directions, necessary phone numbers, important weather information, food and lodging facts, as well as links to related sites. It’s significant to note that many of these features are actually embedded into the application itself, meaning users don’t need internet access (which is great, since access is usually poor in the middle of the wilderness) to get the information they want.

The parks database itself is extensive, and includes thousands of national parks, state parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recreation areas and a variety of other public lands. When I searched for “Boating” in the Fort Myers Beach area, the results showed 6 great Federal and State parks, plus 10 local parks.

In addition, Ford Motor Company will donate $150,000 to four non-profit organizations. Each non-profit will receive dollar from Ford for every vote/download.  If you have a smartphone, simply download the Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™ Mobile App and vote for your favorite of the four: Boy Scouts of America, National Wildlife Federation, Outdoor Nation or the Student Conservation Association.This app is available for iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, and Android, and for those of you without a smartphone, all of the information available through the app can be accessed at OhRanger.com.

Visit the iTunes app store or go to the Oh, Ranger website to learn more and download the app.