Guided Eco-cruise through Rookery Bay highlights Conservancy’s original achievement
Let Mother Nature do your upcoming entertaining. If you are looking for a unique and memorable Southwest Florida experience, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s eco-cruise through Rookery Bay is all that and more. From January through April the Conservancy offers an exclusive eco-cruise through Rookery Bay.
Located just south of Naples, Rookery Bay is one of the few undisturbed mangrove estuaries left in the U.S., and one of only 28 National Estuarine Reserves. This 110,000-acres of open water, containing interconnected bays, mangrove wetlands, lagoons and streams is habitat for a vast array of wildlife, including hundreds of species of birds.
As a designated Estuarine Reserve, Rookery Bay offers a natural backdrop for education as well as a laboratory for biologists, teachers, and students. Protecting this threatened estuary was the first accomplishment of the Conservancy, founded by a group of concerned citizens, more than 50 years ago.
“In 1964, the county wanted to extend what is now Bayshore Drive through the heart of Rookery Bay, through mangroves and barrier islands,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy. “This ‘Road to Nowhere’ took two years of effort to defeat. The Conservancy raised funds to purchase 2,600 acres and save Rookery Bay. Our mission is much bigger today, but we still focus on preserving Southwest Florida’s natural treasures — our water, land and wildlife.”
Today eco-cruises aboard the Good Fortune II pontoon boat provide guests with a fun and informative reminder of the Conservancy’s positive impact on our environment.
Good Fortune II adventures include daily “Leisurely Lunch” and “Classic Sunset” cruises, as well as a selection of specialty cruises and private charters. Coast Guard certified boat captains, accompanied by trained naturalists, help spot and identify wildlife, and provide guests with an experience that is both relaxing and informative.
Specialty cruise topics range from the “magic of mangroves”, sea turtles and their habitat, and the history of the Rookery Bay area. These cruises include a one hour stop for lunch at Isle of Capri. (Lunch is not included in the program cost). Award-winning nature photographer, Dennis Goodman, also shares his expertise on the always-popular Wildlife Photography sunset cruise. These specialty cruises are offered at the same price as regular daily cruises. Each offers a new experience on the water.
“The Good Fortune II offers residents and visitors a very intimate and personal way to learn about Southwest Florida’s environment,” Moher said. “Taking a ride through the mangroves, guests might spot a dolphin, manatee or a bobcat. It’s a great adventure and you really gain an entirely new appreciation for Southwest Florida’s natural environment.”
Cruises depart from Shell Island Road located between Naples and Marco Island. Directions, pricing and cruise information is online www.conservancy.org/goodfortune certificates can be purchased by calling 239–403–4236.