Sunday, March 3, 2013

A birthday prank and a kayak launch from Matlacha

February 26, 2013
North Fort Myers, Florida
Seminole Campground

Inspired by a highly involved prank that occurred in our campground a couple of weeks ago,  Vic and I and another couple, Mike and BJ, decided we had a perfect opportunity to pull a prank on our friends, Steve and Diane, who had left the campground for a few days.  Diane has a leap year birthday and often says that because of this she celebrates the whole week.  Well, this was the week and we thought it would be fun to give her a few surprises when they returned to their motorhome. The other prank in our campground, documented by Antoinette in her blog Have Retirement Will Travel, focused on the exterior space of their neighbors’ fifth wheel.  They put up caution tape everywhere, had the park write and sign a letter of eviction taped to their door, removed most of their outdoor plants and furniture,  set up a fake garage sale on their site, and had all kinds of signs posted saying the site had been contaminated. Most of the people in their end of the park were in on it and they had a lot of fun pulling this off much to the dismay of the couple when they returned to find things in major disarray.

We decided we would not make a public display of our prank, so that meant we would focus on the interior of the motorhome.  The first necessity was having keys to their motorhome. Check. Mike had their spare set of keys. Ideas we came up with were stuffing their bathroom full of balloons, filling their vodka bottle with water (we saved the good stuff for later), putting stones in their coffee filter, short sheeting their bed, and putting a rubber lobster in their toilet. I really wanted to put a live frog in their microwave, but on my hunt for a tree frog (I see them almost every day around here), I crossed paths with a three-foot water moccasin. Thus ended the frog hunt.

While brainstorming other options, we drew the line at the stink bomb ideas. Motorhome life and bad smells are not a fun combination. I did like the idea of live animals and momentarily considered asking to borrow the spider monkey or parrot that happen to be here in other motorhomes, but I wasn’t sure what kind of damage a loose monkey might do.  So we settled for our rather innocuous pranks.


We were lobster in toiletnot there to see their immediate response, but shortly after their arrival I received a text that said, “My bathroom is not accessible, can I use yours?”  It turned out that my last minute idea of putting a lobster in the toilet had the most impact.  Apparently, Diane let out a shriek. 
The short sheeted bed was a failure because we did not put the pillows back exactly as Diane had them, so she suspected something amiss. Darn.  She didn’t discover the stones in the coffee filter until the morning.  And, as I write this, as far as I know, they still have not discovered that their vodka is water. I even watched Diane drink a vodka and tonic without even a hint of revelation.  Now that’s funny although it makes me think maybe I should try it—way fewer calories that way!

Rather than pop all the balloons, which is what I thought they would do, her husband Steve strung them all on fishing line and hung them outside to mark the beginning of her celebration week.

balloons outsidediane pam and balloons

The following day we had plans to go kayaking in Matlacha but the morning sky was rather cloudy and there was a forecast of possible rain. We changed our plans to meet our friends Dave and Jean, a couple we met from Ohio, to the following day.  Matlacha  (pronounced MAT-luh-shay) is a funky little artisan fishing town on a bay in Pine Island about thirty minutes from our campground. We had heard that this was a good place to kayak as it part of the Great Calusa Blueway Trail and there are several places to explore in the bays on either side of the island.


Not knowing what to expect (as usual), we met at the site: Matlacha Community Park and Boat Ramp. We were especially surprised to see a $10 fee for parking, but fortunately a fellow kayaker redirected us to another part of the park with an actual kayak launch rather than a boat launch and the parking there was free. He also told us to cross the bay to the east where there were several mangrove inlets in an area called Beverly Bay. He even said we might be lucky enough to see some Roseated Spoonbills which would make my day.

Before we even left the park, Dave spotted this Osprey in a nest near the kayak launch area. I was hoping this was a good sign that we would have good wildlife sightings on our paddle.

The water was quite clear and calm as well as shallow in several places.  We enjoyed an easy paddle (and pedal when the water was deep enough) to the other side of the bay.  It sure was tranquil there but once again not much wildlife. It was still great to be out on the water, getting a little exercise, and having another chance to visit with our friends before they head north.

This area is definitely prime for fishing. We saw several kayakers fishing (kay-fishers) as well as lots of folks on piers hoping to catch a big one. I asked what they were catching and the answer was redfish, silver trout, mackerel, and small grouper. They were mostly using live shrimp for bait.

After a few hours, we headed back to Matlacha for a late lunch at the historic Bert’s Bar. The original building that became Bert’s was built in the 1930s and stories go that it was once a house of ill repute and private dancers. Nowadays it is just a watering hole with a lot of character, good food and service, and a waterfront view. It also boasts “modern indoor bathroom facilities.”

After saying goodbye to Jean and Dave, we headed home to get ready for a birthday dinner for Diane at the popular Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grill in Fort Myers Beach. It is not typical for us to eat out twice in one day, but c'est la vie when you have friends who deserve a celebration. We just had to oblige.


  1. Way glad for your friends you decided not to do the stink bomb! The rubber lobster in the toilet was way funny...will remember that one!

    Nice photos from the kayak trip! Bert's looks like our kind of place!

  2. I LOVE Bert's Bar. I'm headed down there next week to see my sister just for the day. Hope she and I get to kayak together. Matlache is such a cool little village. I'm not telling you when my birthday is if it happens to be when we might see you again, lol!

  3. Oh dear how did I miss this post about a great paddle? And in mangroves too. sounds like a fine. day and no cooking!! Great birthday pranks but I am glad no poor tree frog was harmed in the making of that experience. LOVE the lobster!! You guys are a hoot!!


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