The Causeway Islands Offer Wildlife Sightings and Expansive Views for Paddlers
Most of us in the Ocean Tribe Paddlers have the access, the knowledge, and the skills to paddle just about any area on the islands, yet we tend to find ourselves at the causeway islands quite often. There are many things that keep us coming back to this landmark spot.
The causeway islands have easy launching access and there is ample, free parking. There are restroom facilities on both islands – more sophisticated on Island B, the one closest to Sanibel, but there are porta-potties on Island A as well. Although both islands offer good paddling, our favorite area is the west side of Island A.
It supports a fantastic seagrass flat, in a no-wake zone that is well enforced. We commonly see manatees and dolphins, White Pelicans in the winter, and Magnificent Frigates in the summer. There are oyster beds in shallow sandy areas and it is common to see Redfish and Snook along the mangroves of the adjacent keys. You can also experience great sunrises and sunsets from this location.
The loop around Fisherman’s Key is 3 miles long, and passes through nice mangrove habitat and protected areas along the back side of the key. The loop around Picnic Island is a little under 5 miles, and the island is currently home to two young Bald Eagles. Although close to the high span bridge and the channel that runs under it, there is typically very little boat wake in the area between the causeway, Fisherman’s Key, and Picnic Island.
Before you venture out, be careful to notice the tidal flow and the winds. Like all of our paddling environments in San Carlos Bay, tidal currents can be strong and winds can be challenging. Be certain to always paddle into the current and wind on the way out, so your return home is easier. And always file a float plan.
Ocean Tribe Paddlers is a club hosted by Sanibel Sea School that helps the SWFL paddling community better explore, enjoy, and understand the ocean. Visit oceantribepaddlers.org or follow us on Facebook to learn more.