The best part about living on the Space Coast is the excitement of spending as much time on the water as possible. As Halloween rolls around it’s fun reserve time on your boat to take the kids “tackle treating,” or see the decorations put up on the houses of Merritt Island. But what is also fun is to learn a little bit about how spooky the Indian River Lagoon can be.
The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the United States. 321 Boat Club Members have the unique opportunity to explore this wild side of Florida every day without having to deal with the hassles of boat ownership. This can give you the peace of mind and help you build the courage to navigate some of the spookiest sites when you depart from the Eau Gallie Causeway.
Any angler worth their salt knows that saltwater, Gafftopsail catfish aren’t anything to mess with. These fish can grow quite large and put up quite a fight. While you’re reeling one in you may be excited thinking you landed a massive Redfish, or maybe even the elusive Snook. But no, up comes a muddy gray fish with rigid dorsal and pectoral fins. Watch out because these nasty bottom feeders have spines sharp enough to pierce through boat shoes, flip flops, and even sneakers and an sting from these poisonous spines can pack quite a punch that can leave you in pain for months on end. Don’t forget to wear gloves and be very careful you catch of these spooky saltwater catfish.
When people think of Florida, American alligators always come to mind. However, with everyone tubing swimming and jet skiing around in the lagoon, it’s difficult to imagine that these prehistoric predators call this estuary their home from time to time. But they do. While alligators are largely lethargic reptiles, they are extremely dangerous if you see one while you’re motoring around do not get in the water. They mostly like to soak up the sun on the banks of the lagoon, and you don’t have to worry about them too much. However, it’s always important to keep an eye open and not get in the water unless you have to.
The Indian River Lagoon is the most important bull shark nurseries on the Atlantic coast. Scary huh? Not really, while sharks are painted as the terror’s of the deep, they are a lot less aggressive than depicted in the movies. Every year pregnant female bull sharks enter the Indian River Lagoon and give birth to their live babies. The females then retreat back into the ocean blue, and the babies are left in the relative safety of the lagoon. As they age they migrate south, and find their way to the Sebastian and make their homes in the Atlantic. The average size of a bull shark in the Indian River Lagoon is about three feet long. While it can be a pretty spooky story to tell the kids, you don’t need to worry too much about seeing these sharklings while you’re fishing, tubing, or cruising around.
Probably the scariest thing about the Indian River Lagoon are the blooms of algae that are increasingly starving the river of oxygen and causing massive fish and wildlife die offs. A perfect storm of conditions causes algae in the river to replicate out of control. These microscopic plants take all the oxygen and leave millions of fish, essentially gasping for air. Thankfully we have not experienced a massive algae bloom this year, and hopefully our communities can do their best to contain sewage and pollution, and limit the use of fertilizers near the lagoon, so we can all enjoy the Indian River for many years to come.
The Indian River Lagoon is an exciting place explore, even if it can be a bit spooky. If you’re ready to take off this Halloween call to reserve your boat!