Volume 3 Issue 4 | April 2023

As a Home Watch provider, we want each of your return trips to Sarasota to feel as refreshing as the first. Our "Piece of Paradise" newsletters provide a brief glimpse into Florida homeownership, followed by a featured activity for your next visit.

Homeowner Insight

This tip/topic is coming to you from one of our clients: don't forget to forward your mail, and be diligent about checking for important letters! The United States Postal Service classifies mail forwarding for less than 6 months as a temporary change of address. The mail forwarding request can be completed online for a nominal fee. As with any shipping service, letters do sometimes get lost - if you're waiting for a piece of mail and it hasn't yet arrived, be pro-active in your communications with USPS. Don't wait until you return to your other address to see if it was delivered there. Of course, as a Home Watch provider we are happy to empty your mailbox and send photos of any envelopes.

April Piece Of Paradise

Illuminated Kayak Tour

The night views of the Sarasota skyline were spectacular from Ken Thompson Park.

We've read articles about bioluminescence in Sarasota Bay. And it sounds awesome!!! Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find any evidence of it on our own. So this month we "settled" for the next best thing - an LED illuminated glass bottom kayak tour. It will definitely hold us over until the day (night) when we can witness local bioluminescence firsthand.

Our tour guide Emilio skillfully balanced being the host, the expert, the safety enforcer, and the funny guy.

The tour started with an overview of the safety policies. There was no instruction regarding how to navigate a kayak, as the company distributed a video on that topic in advance. The paddling itself was some of the easiest we've ever done - maybe a 2 our of 10 on the energy exertion scale. Our 9-year-old son did much of the paddling while Miranda fiddled with her camera. The most physically challenging part of the activity is probably stepping to and easing into your seat. We didn't see any ADA-accessible launches at the site (Ken Thompson Park). (There are ADA-accessible canoe/kayak launches at other sites in Sarasota, though we aren't currently finding a website that lists them. The Bay and Senator Bob Johnson's Landing are two examples.)

The tour started in a cove enclosed by mangroves.

Participants were encouraged to use their phones to dial in to a conference call. The tour guide joined the call as well, which allowed kayakers to keep a comfortable distance without straining their ears.

Before setting off with our Sharkey's tour, we saw a different vendor on the bay with illumination that seemed less green. Not sure which makes for better viewing and/or which is better for the fish?

The water view was pretty similar whether looking straight down through the kayak or over the side. Ben and our daughter have the hunters' eyes and spotted a shrimp, crabs, several species of fish, Bonnethead sharks and a manatee.

The Sarasota skyline framed by a field of green water (from the kayak lights - the water itself wasn't green.).

Miranda's view was focused more above the water. The surface was calm, the moon was shining, the city lights were twinkling - it was a magical evening!

Instructions were provided on how to dispense the fish food.

Conveniently, the tour agenda included feeding the catfish. This guaranteed that everybody saw some wildlife in the waters below. The tour narration also hit upon highlights of the Sarasota Bay area. We would definitely recommend this tour for a new perspective on & appreciation for the beauty of our community.

Nearby or Similar Considerations

Ben and the kids checking the scene among some underwater roots.

While we waited for our 9:30p.m. tour to begin, we decided to bring some dip nets and "see what we could see" in the shallow night waters. Thirty minutes did not disappoint - we found crabs, a baby snook, a pipe fish, and an underwater snail. Checked all the boxes for a great activity - easy, beautiful, and free!

Not easy to spot in the still shot of a camera, but there's a pipe fish (or two?) in this net.

Learn more about our Home Watch services, Florida homeownership, and activity ideas in and around the Sarasota area on the Coastal Haven website.

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