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10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

Columbus, OH
3 posts
1 review
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10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

I'm coming to Florida in a week, and I wanted to take a guided boat tour (motor boat/canoe/kayak....NOT airboat) of the mangrove area along the southern gulf coast. Would it be better to take a tour in Rookery Bay, or a private tour originating from the Everglades City area and traveling through Everglades National Park? Recommendations?

Vero Beach, Florida
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for Vero Beach
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1. Re: 10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

I think both would work.

Rookery Bay has an excellent nature center; I'd strongly recommend visiting for a natural history orientation. Tigertail Beach on nearby Marco Island is, of all things, a prime shorebird spot, where piping plovers might be seen in winter.

Dayton, OH / Marco...
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for Marco Island, Everglades National Park, Goodland
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2. Re: 10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

To me one of the top Marco activities is to go jet skiing into the 10,000 islands park. It is not as bad for the eco system as the airboat rides found in the Everglades. This way (jetski) you will see a lot of nature.. eagle/osprey/manatee/dolphins/mangroves

To your question ...

I would do the kayak at Rookery Bay if I were a novice. If more experienced I would do kayaking out of Everglades City/Choko. If I didn't do a jetski from Marco I would do the Everglades National Park - Gulf Visitor Center boat ride through the mangroves.

Rookery Bay activities heat up in the winter months .. aka busy season.

http://www.rookerybay.org/

Guided Kayak Tours

Join a Rookery Bay naturalist for a guided exploration of the bays and mangrove forests of Rookery Bay. Discover the unique plants and animals that make this coastal ecosystem so valuable. Tours are offered Wednesdays and Fridays. Tour times vary. Check calendar for details. Trip limited to 10 participants age 12+. Cost $35.00 ($5 discount FORB Members) Pre-registration required: register here or call 239-417-6310, ext 401.

Here is the link to the nature options.

rookerybay.org/resource-management/outdoor-e…

Link to the kayak - "paddle guide" for Rookery Bay.

rookerybay.org/pdfs/Paddle-Trail-Guide.pdf

Sussex
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for Mana Pools National Park, Marco Island
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3. Re: 10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

I must say I have serious reservations about the concept of jetski 'eco tours'

I have absolutely no doubt that taking a ride on a jetski is tremendous fun, but however you stack it up, they are noisy things individually, put 1/2 dozen or so of them together and they make an awful lot of noise. Not my idea of the best way to view & enjoy the natural world.

We regularly watched the various tours running along the coastline whilst on South Beach this summer. On one occasion a small group of dolphin were feeding on one of the sand banks and the tour slowed down & stopped to look at them - the dolphin, surrounded by 6 ticking-over jetski's soon made a bee-line out of the area. As far as I am concerned, if whilst viewing wildlife you impact / alter their behaviour, you really are not acting in a responsible fashion.

OK, rant over.

I thoroughly recomend the guided kayak tours from Rookery Bay - a very pleasant, gently and informative way to spend a few hours on the water. I am sure sinilar tours exist out of Everglades City, but I do not have 1st hand experience of these.

Dayton, OH / Marco...
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for Marco Island, Everglades National Park, Goodland
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4. Re: 10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

Whyone .. you are absolutely right ... like clockwork troop after troop of lines of jetski's go out past South Beach to the 10,000 islands. They are noisy and loud and humerously called eco-tours.

But .... on my jetski trip that I took my eyes were opened up ... when you see the thousand islands by boat ... you really "get it". You really understand what the 10,000 islands are about. The name is just a name until you experience it.

Unless you have a boat you really can't explore the 10,000 island park. So jetski's, to me are the best of few options.

I'm hooked about Marco because I understand the geography ... how Marco was built out of dug canals and bays. And how a stone throw away is some of the most undisturbed land in the US.

Marco Island
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5. Re: 10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

I can see how someone might get a little confused about Jetskis. I've spent half of my life educating people about the good things they do and have been conducting Jetski tours on Marco Island since 1988. Maybe I can help straighten things out. I get the feeling you're knocking something you've never tried. Just because you witnessed an incident that you interpreted as a negative encounter doesn't mean it was. As Guides we all, collectively care very much about these beautiful creatures as well as all wildlife. The laws are very clear concerning the harrassment of federally protected marine mammals and the incident you described does not sound like harrassment to me! Those Dolphin were, as you described their location, in the daily path of jetski tours and just maybe the guide led his customers closer for a look and left when he realized the Dolphin were feeding. No harm done! I'm sure a kayak might be a good way to view wildlife but not everybody wants to paddle 35 miles in the hot sun. Since 2005, All "Jetskis" manufactured meet or exceed EPA requirements and since the motors are now more like the motors in your car instead of the old ones like you'd find in a dirt bike, they are now as quiet as your car. Let's not dwell on the past! Further, when guides get "close" as you say they have a opportunity to survey the pod for injured animals. Just this year alone my "jetski" tour company has reported, tracked at the request of Florida Fish & Wildlife, and assisted them in the rescues of two sick Pygmy Sperm Whales and a female adult Manatee with a punctured lung. We are currently tracking and observing a Dolphin with its nose peeled back from a prop strike and we are now their first responders in these cases. If we don't get "close", we can't help! "Jetskis" are used by Mote Marine Labs because they have NO MOVING PARTS below the water that could even scratch a Marine mammal. You will NEVER find a prop scar on a Dolphin or Manatee that came from a "Jetski"! That's why I believe they are the best way to view and help our local wildlife. I have also personally rescued 7 college students from a sinking sailboat in hurricane force winds in March 1993 and another 90 people who were very happy to see me on my "Jetski" when I plucked them from the flood waters of New Orleans in 2005 and 8 more persons on board a sinking vessel in Caxambas Pass, while conducting my "jetski" tours. Dolphin and Manatee face far greater perils than what you think are "noisy" Jetskis and we're only here to help them whenever we can. It's time "Jetskis" get credit where credit is due!

6. Re: 10000 Islands: Rookery Bay or National Park?

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