The Rookery Bay tour really starts when you turn onto Shell Island Rd. and enter the park area. The wildlife observed from this winding three-mile drive can include Whitetail Deer, bobcat, gopher tortoise and the bald eagle. At the end of Shell Island is where your tour on the water begins. You are now on land where an ancient Calusa Indian village and more recent pioneer settlements once existed.
From the protected lagoon where osprey and shore birds make their presence known we pass through a small opening into the wide mouth of Henderson Creek and the channel to Rookery Bay. This deeper channel is popular with kayak fishermen and often dolphin and manatee spend time in this deeper channel. Numerous ospreys have made this their home and several large osprey nests can be observed close up, often they can be seen above looking for their next meal and dive talons first into the water to grab an unsuspecting mullet fish. A bald eagles nest is nearby along the shore of Hall Bay. The eagles are a magnificent sight when soaring above and often get into aerial battles with the osprey when they cross paths. There are many species of shore birds to be seen on and near the water including herons, egrets, cormorant, anhinga and of course ibis and the often present pelicans diving for a meal.Rookery Bay is recognized nationally as a rare nearly pristine mangrove forested estuary. Your guide will share his extensive knowledge of the vital importance the mangroves play in the health of all marine life in Southwest Florida. Many tours have had the privilege of observing dolphin and manatee in their daily routines of play and feeding though we don’t always get to see them and that is what makes it special when they do appear. Winding through the mangrove tunnels is a favorite part of the tour for many.
There are few better ways to experience Southwest Florida outdoors than a guided kayak tour of the waters of the mangrove estuary, where wildlife outnumbers the people and only the sound of nature are to be heard.
Naples Kayak Company offers a multitude of rental and tour options. Call and reserve or schedule 239.262.6149.