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Register now for adult boat based courses

By Staff | Oct 4, 2017

Sanibel Sea School Executive Director Dr. Bruce Neill is holding an adult boat based semester starting next week through November. PHOTO PROVIDED

The popular Sanibel Sea School adult boat based classes are returning for the second year with an extended semester, starting next week.

Sanibel Sea School Director of Education Nicole Finnicum said the boat based classes are offered October through November with Executive Director Dr. Bruce Neill.

“These turned out to be really popular last year. So popular we were offering one session per week each week of October. After we had filled all of those classes we had opened up a second session, so we offered two classes per week in October,” she said.

This year the classes will kick off Tuesday, Oct. 10 and Wednesday, Oct. 11 with Hurricanes in Southwest Florida. The trip will include visiting some locations that had previously been impacted by hurricanes to learn how they have shaped Sanibel as an island.

“We are offering the same topic twice each week, so if you can’t make it on Tuesday, you can come on Wednesday,” she said. “We are offering more classes to accommodate more people, so they can experience these classes.”

The boat based semester, offered from 9 a.m. to noon, allows adults to learn about a new topic each week.

“We have a new boat that was donated to us. Instead of our Carolina Skiff, our flat bottom boat that we have been using in programs for years, we were kindly donated a pontoon boat, which is going to offer a much more comfortable ride for people. It is going to be easier to board, comfortable for them to sit on for the duration of the trip and they can bring any snacks or drinks along as well,” Finnicum said.

All but one class, participants will meet at the Sanibel Causeway. The location offers convenience for people as they can park their cars for free.

The only class that will not be departing from the Sanibel Causeway is the Tuesday, Oct. 24, and Wednesday, Oct. 25, Caloosahatchee River Oxbows near Alva. Participants will depart from the Alva Boat Ramp, 21580 Pearl St.

“We are going to experience some of the inland river ecosystem before the Franklin Lock, which separates fresh water in the river from the brackish water in the river,” Finnicum said. “It’s a totally different ecosystem on that side of the lock. We are going to talk about the oxbows of the river, which are the bends in the river.”

The class was inspired by the canoeing trip the Sanibel Sea School took with its campers over the summer.

“It was so incredible to see the difference in mostly the plant community that was there and the river was beautiful,” Finnicum said. “We wanted our adults to experience that as well and learn how important connectivity between the river and ocean are.”

Another highlight of the semester includes a three-part series on San Carlos Bay – North San Carlos Bay (Pine Island, Matlacha, Tarpon Bay) Oct. 31 and Nov. 1; South San Carlos Bay Lunch and Learn (Bunche Beach, Estero Bay, Matanzas Pass) Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 and Lower Caloosahatchee (Punta Rassa and the mouth of the Caloosahatchee) Nov. 14 and Nov. 15.

“This will be a good opportunity to enroll in this little mini series in the boat based semester to learn more about our bay,” she said.

The middle class, South San Carlos Bay, will explore Bunche Beach, Estero Bay and Matanzas Pass, as well as making a stop at Dixie Fish Company for lunch.

“It is right next to Doc Ford’s on Fort Myers Beach. We are going to have lunch there. We just ask that participants bring some extra money for the cost of lunch,” she said.

The remaining classes include Marine Mammals of Sanibel on Oct. 17, and Oct. 18, and Fall Migration in the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29.

The classes are open to adults 18 years old and older. Finnicum said if participants have children that are 15 years old, or older can be registered with an adult.

Individuals are encouraged to register early at www.sanibelseaschool.org/sanibel-adult-programs. It is $75 for each course. Each trip can accommodate 10 people.

“It will be a small group. That is why decided to open up the two sessions. We had everything linked up on Monday (Sept. 25) and we already have 20 people signed up,” she said the following day. “These are so popular. We hope to offer these in the future.”