Thursday, January 1, 2009

Trade the Highway for the Blueway: Great Sanibel Condo Open for April 11, May through August Weeks

Tired of that commute on the highway to get to work? Don't blame you. Sitting in traffic is never fun. So let your thoughts drift.

Instead of cars and traffic and dismal weather, picture this:

You are on a different kind of "thoroughfare", no traffic, blue skies, birds above your head, manatees swimming next to you, warm sunshine on your face and arms. No horns blaring, different scenery along the way, no tolls, no watching the gas tank needle drop.

Where are you?

You are on the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. You are in a kayak. You are alone with your thoughts, or perhaps accompanied by loved ones in nearby kayaks. You are at peace.

According to Lee County's Parks and Recreation Department, the Calusa Blueway is truly unique.

It's a 190-mile marked canoe and kayak trail that meanders through Lee County's coastal waters and inland tributaries.

Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast is dotted with sugar-sand beaches – slivers of paradise on barrier islands. What’s harbored behind the islands, though, is a maze of mysterious mangroves – leggy, saltwater tolerant trees – and wildlife that rivals destinations North Americans need passports to visit. The trail’s trek through shallow water keeps paddlers safely away from places powerboats travel, and it puts them closer to nature, where blush-colored roseate spoonbills feed at dawn, schools of silver-hued fish dart beneath their boats and lumbering manatees feed on sea grasses.

The trail provides recreational opportunities, cultural and environmental awareness, and boosted safety with a low environmental impact for Lee County’s 2 million annual tourists as well as its 600,000 residents.

It effectively unveils the mystery of the mangroves and estuaries but does so with ease so any newcomer to paddling can explore the waterways once plied by the Calusas, the natives who thrived for centuries in Southwest Florida before the Spaniards’ arrival. Many Calusa landmarks, such as shell mounds, remain and are noted on the trail.

Unlike most U.S. and Canadian paddling trails, the Great Calusa Blueway is marked with signs. Think of them as Hänsel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs. Further safety is provided with Global Positioning System coordinates on Lee County Park's Web site. Free maps are printed with grant money and are available at various locations — outfitters, marinas, retail sites, parks, boat ramps, office buildings, chambers of commerce, airports, visitor centers, etc.

The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail was created to help people experience the natural magic of Lee County. Forget The Discovery Channel or National Geographic. Come paddle yourself, one-on-one with nature.

It's a great way to spend Spring Vacation, and you're in luck.

Picture this:

At the end of of a day of wondrous paddling, you head back to your condo on Sanibel Island.

Windows are open, the last rays of sunlight fill the rooms as ceiling fans twirl above your head. A large and inviting master bathroom with a huge shower beckons you to refresh yourself. It's been a great day and the night may be even better.

April 11 and weeks in May through August are awaiting your booking. Why hesitate?

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