In the days following the devastation of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, Virgin Islands, & Florida Keys, many people may be wondering how they can offer a helping hand to the impacted areas. Although we did not take as much impact from the storm as we thought, our friends and family in the places that were have been faced with unimaginable devastation. This is why it is our duty to do as much as possible to help these residents during this difficult time as they try to rebuild their lives and homes. Here are some ways you can help the victims of Hurricane Irma:
You may think that Fort Pierce Outdoor Center is just a place to rent a kayak or paddle board, when in fact you can do much more than see wildlife and scenery. The treasure coast is known for its bountiful waters and perfect fishing spots and is sometimes called “the last great fishing frontier”. Fort Pierce Inlet especially, is a year round migration channel that provides for some of the best fishing on Earth. Anglers from around the country come to our city to experience the world renown fishing the Treasure Coast has to offer. Make no mistake; Fort Pierce Inlet is a place where records are made. In 1995, a 17 lb Sea Trout was caught at Fort Pierce Inlet by Craig Carson. To this day, it holds its title as heaviest spotted Sea Trout on record, and there is more where that came from. What some local fisherman may not know is that kayak fishing can be the perfect way to experience the untouched behemoth of Snook and other fish that Fort Pierce has to offer. You can rent or bring your own kayak and launch from FPOC, conveniently located in the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park. Fight an enormous Snook, or come during season and catch a slot for dinner. You can also go for Mangrove Snapper, Black Grouper, Redfish, Mutton Snapper, Sheepshead, Flounder, or Trout. In a kayak, places you would not be able to reach on shore are easily found. You can find schools of fish in areas that are largely inaccessible by boat. Although fishing from a kayak can be a bit difficult the first go around, there are a few tips to ensure your fishing trip to Fort Pierce Inlet is as enjoyable as possible:
DO head to the southern end of the park. Park officials recommend it for fishing.
DON’T bring an expensive rod on your first kayak fishing trip. You may flip the first couple of times. Make sure everything you bring is secured to the kayak.
DO bring a PFD (portable flotation device) as conditions can be dicey here in South Florida. It is better to be safe than sorry.
DON’T stay in one spot, paddle around for the best experience. The fish wont come to you!
DO wear sunblock and sun protective clothing.
Fort Pierce Outdoor Center is the perfect place to rent a kayak for an inshore fishing experience and makes for a totally different kind of adventure. All fishing within the park must conform to regulations concerning size, number, method of capture and season. A recreational saltwater fishing license is required as well. See the link below for rules, regulations, and more facts about fishing in Florida.
One of the many animals to come across in Fort Pierce Inlet includes a peculiar jellyfish named after a Greek Goddess of the Sea. Its bell shaped, suction cup-like underbelly sticks to the algae covered, shallow bottom and upward facing tentacles absorb sunlight for photosynthesis. Coined the Cassiopeia Jellyfish, its upside-down tentacles inspire its mythological name. Queen Cassiopeia, of Aethiopia was the wife of King Cephus and mother of Andromeda. Cassiopeia was beautiful but very vain and claimed that she and her daughter were the most beautiful nymphs of the sea. Poseidon became infuriated with the Queen’s conceited behavior and sent a monster to the coasts of Aethiopia. Cephus and Cassiopeia decided that the only way to save their lands would be to sacrifice their only daughter, Andromeda. She was chained to a rock by the sea to be drowned with the tide, but was saved by Perseus and they married. Poseidon was not appeased with her rescue and took Cassiopeia into the heavens. She was tied to a torture chair to be turned upside down for the rest of eternity so that no one could ever see her beauty again. In turn, this odd looking upside-down cephalopod would be known as the Cassiopeia Jellyfish.
My tour with Pastor Eddie began at Fort Pierce Outdoor Center’s convenient launch site directly facing the famous Tucker Cove. Tucker Cove is a very popular attraction for locals and visitors and is one of the main reasons that our location is so amazing. It is easily accessible by boat, kayak, or paddle board and is the perfect place to take a break after a long day on the water. Tucker Cove or “The Cove”, has been a prime relaxation spot for decades in the Indian River Lagoon. Locals have grown up here and brought their children and grandchildren here, to experience the beauty and serenity of this famous hangout. On my tour with FPOC, we stopped at the cove to cool down and learn more about the plants and animals that live there. On the way, our group crossed paths with a beautiful Manatee and a Spotted Eagle Ray as well as cool fish like Snook and Sheepshead. Other animals that can be found near and around Tucker Cove are Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Anhingas, and Roseate spoonbills. While we were there, Pastor Eddie taught us all about the White Mangrove and its amazing ability to maintain its environment. The White Mangrove is generally found in salty environments and has leather-like leaves are light green in color with a silvery yellow cast on the back. Living in such an environment has made them able to excrete extra salt through special pores on their leaves. This ability results in a layer of crystallized sea salt on the backs of the leaves. We were tasting them and they were surprisingly very salty! We also took our boards through a mangrove trail called the car wash. This trail is so cool because you have to duck your head and lay flat on your board to get to some parts of the trail.
Another stop on my tour of the inlet park was Dynamite Point where we learned some history about how it got its name. Dynamite Point was once a training site for the early WWII Navy Frogmen (SEALS), where its main purpose was to practice underwater demolition. This generally involved the use of dynamite which is why the point would receive its name. Many of the 140,000 Navy personnel stationed there practiced for the D-Day invasion of the European Coast. Based on local testimony, some even remember war submarines being parked there! After the war, many people still had not settled in Florida so land was abundant. Many of the former enlisted men and others began moving here to buy up property and start new lives where it was warm!
I really enjoyed everything about my tour with eddy and was happy that we learned so much about the surrounding areas. My favorite part was when i kissed my first jelly fish! My lips tingled afterwards and we were surprised to learn that the substance that stung my lips can be released as a defense mechanism to subdue unsuspecting swimmers. Thanks for a great day Pastor Eddy!