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River Queen II – Post Hurricane Ian


water next to a tree

September 28, 2022 will be a date that southwest Florida will never forget.  That is that date that Hurricane Ian struck our area.  It devastated Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, and many areas of Lee County, Florida.  Including homes and businesses along the Caloosahatchee River (which is were we reside as well as where our tour business is located).

We are pleased to say that the thought, planning, preparation and action of the owner and crew of Sweetwater Landing Marina made all the difference in the world to the safe harbor of the River Queen II.  Although one of the primary floating docks at the marina suffered significant damage from the storm surge, NONE of the vessels were damaged.  The boat storage buildings were sturdy and although water came into their office spaces, everything is coming back into alignment and functionality, slowly but surely!  Thank you Brandon, Hunter and team!!

Our home took on damage, although not as much storm surge as some, we had 3 feet of water to deal with and so we are rebuilding the interior of our home.  It “might” be March 2023 when it’s finished, however, there are no guarantees.  Our personal vessels didn’t fair so well in the storm… and they are low on the priority list of getting things back to normal.  (Whatever “normal” is)  People around here use to refer to events as pre covid, now it’s pre/post Ian.

We have been touring on the Caloosahatchee providing three manatee tours thus far.  One the week between Christmas and New Year and two this week (1/3/23 and 1/4/23).  It was the first time that we’ve seen the damage from the water view.  The lovely manatee sculpture pictured above unfortunately, did not survive Ian’s wrath.

However, the river from Sweetwater to the Orange River and back into our favorite cove was able to be navigated safely.  AND… we’ve seen several manatees!

The air temperature is warming back up, so that will raise the water temperature, which creates opportunity for the manatee to leave out to find food.  Remember, they are seeking sea grasses, and there are no sea grasses currently growing in the Orange River, so they have to travel a rather long distance to find food.  Once there is another cold snap and hopefully it stays cooler for several weeks (I know… who in Florida wants cooler weather?? WE DO!!  It brings in the manatees to our tour area so we can share them with you)

We would like to thank our guests who have faithfully booked tours with us!  We realize you have a choice and visiting Manatee & Eco River Tours is one you will not regret.  We provide MORE THAN A BOAT RIDE… it’s an educational experience full of fun, passion and good fellowship.

Kathy & Captain John

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