Separated from Honeymoon Island by a monster hurricane in the 1920s, Caladesi is reachable only by boat. I took the ferry over from Honeymoon State Park. Posts mark out a safe pass through the shoals and birds of all kinds sat on these and watched me pass sometimes as close as thirty feet away. After we docked, I ran off into the woods to explore the trails.
There are some decent-length trails that pass through sandy areas of palmetto and cabbage palms. Towards the south, these give way to wooded areas carpeted by pine needles. The trails are intersected by a few service roads leading to restricted areas. What are the authorities hiding there?
Other than the birds on the way in, there were few animals around that day. I did see one large snail in one of the coves. I photographed it through a narrow gap in the brush at the end of one of the short side trails. I also saw the twin pine, which is a large tree with two trunks joined by a saddle-like structure that people apparently like to photograph themselves in.
I walked along the beach on the west side next. Since it was February, it was too cold to go swimming that day. Along with Honeymoon Island, Caladesi is known for the large numbers of beautiful shells that wash up on its shores. On this particular day, the wind and surf were up and most shells were broken. One discovery I made was the squeaking sand. In some areas, the sand would squeak as I stepped on it. This has never happened before. Apparently, this phenomenon occurs under very narrow humidity conditions with very round sand grains and is much more spectacular in other parts of the world. I was lucky to have encountered a weak case of it on Caladesi.
The island is equipped with restrooms, changing stations, and a concession stand as well as some great picnic areas and pavilions.
Written by Daniel Noe, WayOutLife.com
LOCAL TAMPA BAY