First we parked at Matlacha Community Park so that we could walk around freely.
And we made our first stop Great Licks Ice Cream Shop. This place was rated well, but I actually had never been there before (despite the many times I've visited Matlacha).
I got myself a Raspberry Chip (chocolate chip) ice cream sundae with waffle cone pieces, raspberry sauce and whipped cream. Yum! (The Raspberry Chip is their best seller, and I see why!) Their ice cream is locally made by Queenie. This was my lunch!
The ice cream shop is connected to an art gallery...
The owners are Steve and Lisa Timcak. Lisa showed me some of the steampunk jewelry that Steve makes. Really beautiful stuff! Some of it was nice enough to wear to a cocktail party. But I'm sure that jewelry was all out of my price range.
But while looking at the steampunk, this caught my eye...
She's pretty, huh? And she opens up to reveal that she is actually a storage box...
She's almost seems to be smiling...
And then this beauty caught my eye...
This spider is made from hand blown glass.
I initially was considering getting the black widow for my mother, as she keeps running into black widows at her place. But in the end, I got this one for me instead, which reminds me of the brown widows that I have outside my place.
It even has eyes and fangs!
A view from underneath...
She is such a delicate beauty, and I haven't decided yet what place would be secure enough for her. So for now she is remaining wrapped up and tucked away in a safe spot.
We left Island Visions, and stopped next door by the Lovegrove gallery. I always love her vibrant colors and whimsical creations. One of my favorite things is the backyard to her shop, but unfortunately it was closed off for remodeling.
When we left, I saw this display outside her place and had to get a pic for my mother-- a stalwart republican!
And then grabbed this shot of our shadows...
Then we swung by the back of the Wild Child Gallery. I loved the big spider over the front entrance. They always have some nice things out behind the gallery. I love the "fence" they have created between their backyard and that of the Lovegrove gallery. They just put up a clothesline and pinned up colorful clothes and sheets. That's their fence. It looks great!
The osprey were out in full force. Pairs of them were all over the place, and they were chattering up a storm to one another.
There was one in this tree, and what I presume to be its mate flying around, as the two chattered to one another.
And while behind the Wild Child gallery I could hear another chattering. It was the one in the park.
It's mate was flying around, and again these two kept chattering to one another.
After hitting a few galleries, we decided to walk around on the pier and by the water.
While down there on the pier, we spotted a couple of sting rays. I got one of them on video. He was a big boy! I would guess 16-18 inches across at least, probably closer to 2 feet.
And then we spotted this crab in the water...
After that, we decided to go sit down on the other side of the park, on a bench and under a tree as the sun began to set. We were sitting there, enjoying ourselves and relaxing, when I looked over and saw a large heron standing nearby watching us.
It seemed evident that he has become accustomed to the fishermen giving him scraps, as he stayed nearby watching us expectantly.
He finally gave up and moved along. At one point we went down to the water's edge and moved some rocks around and kept uncovering dozens of these creatures that looked sort of like silverfish.
When we got back to our bench, we found our heron (we'll call him Harold) had settled down to warm himself in the sun.
Soon after I discovered the bench was swarming with these ants (I call them "oak ants", because you often find them in and around oaks), which I am allergic to...
If I get bitten by one of these things, it feels like a bee sting. Then it proceeds to swell up to a bite about 1 1/2-2 inches in diameter with a purple-black bullseye in the center. I avoid these guys at all cost!
So I just stood and took pictures and enjoyed the moment.
These people who live here have got the life. This guy sat out in his own tiki hut, enjoying the day.
And these people have a great location. The back of their home is right on the canal.
Here's a little video to show the peace and tranquility of Matlacha...
And a quick video of a pelican. Wouldn't you know I couldn't get the camera ready in time to get footage of the bald eagle that flew by.
This tree is one of my favorite trees. I love it.
And an egret showed up as well.
After we left Matlacha, we decided to head out to Pine Island to enjoy the rest of the sunset. We got to Bokeelia just in time.
There was another heron waiting for us. Harold? Is that you?
The water around here is so shallow. You can see a guy off to the right of this image, way out in the water fishing, and the water is only up to his chest.
And we spotted more stingrays. In this video, I first show the small stingray, then pan up to the large one, and then back to the small one again...
After sunset we headed in to Captain Cons for a little dinner. I was good and just had a garden salad with broiled fish. So dinner was just "eh". But it was still a good day all around.
If you ever get down to this area, you'll have to be sure to stop by Matlacha/Pine Island/Bokeelia. One of my favorite spots on earth!