Outward Bound Florida Veterans – Everglades

I just recently finished instructing an Outward Bound course in the Everglades with my co-instructor John Gray and our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. I was honored being around them, learned a lot from them, and deeply respect them. Well done, gentlemen, it was a fine course! This post contains a just a few images made during that course.

On Gullivan Key

The first shows brothers Brandon and Aaron building a fire on Gullivan Key, just before embarking on a night paddle to Camp Lulu Key.

Roseate Spoonbill

Near Cape Romano the bird life is spectacular this season. We spotted several flocks of white pelicans and a couple of flocks of roseate spoonbills. This photo shows a roseate spoonbill in flight.

Great Blue Heron

At dusk this Great Blue Heron took to flight after foraging in the shallow waters for an evening meal.

Sting Ray

On Gullivan Key we spotted several sting rays foraging in the shallow waters.

Lightning Whelk

The original inhabitants of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands were the Calusa people. Calusa means “fierce ones,” as the early Spanish explorers and missionaries were to find out. They used conch’s and whelk’s as tools and fighting implements. The Lightning Whelk is one of the few left-opening sinistral shells. Here a Lightning Whelk lies on the shores of Cape Romano.

Paddling at Low Tide

When we left Cape Romano the winds were high so we kept to an inside passage. We departed around low tide, so it was a bit of work to get through the back bays.

JD works on the guideon

Our group designed a guidon, which signifies their unit designations or corps affiliation, before beginning their night paddle and the final return to basecamp.

Our Group's Guidon

It was a great trip, I was humbled to be around men who have given so much to serve their country. I look forward to the next veterans course later this season.

My next trip leaves this morning and will take us throughout the length of the Everglades National Park, navigating the Ten Thousand Islands. It’s with a group of students from William Jewell College. More adventures to follow so stay tuned.

Happy New Year!

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