Matlacha After the Storm

By: Bryan and Diana Stockbridge

Life is slowly coming back to Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve. What was a brown and barren landscape of bruised and battered mangrove trees is now a green and vibrant forest coming back to life! Marine mammals such as our resident dolphin, manatee, and River Otters have also been making an appearance in Matlacha Pass! You can often catch a pod of dolphin feeding and splashing near the boat channel, manatee gently swimming by your kayak or even the occasional pair of River Otters playfully “doggy paddling” near the mangrove fringe. For the bird lovers, wading birds can be spotted perched on low lying mangrove limbs ready for their next meal. Eagles, osprey, and red shouldered hawks can be heard launching their attacks in midair and even the occasional elusive roseate spoonbill has been spotted deep in the mangrove trails. And if you look up in the afternoons, you can see the beautiful migratory American White Pelicans conserving energy in their V formation flight. September seems so long ago when you stop to focus on the present beauty that surrounds us in Matlacha Pass. Of course, there are days when we can’t help but remember. We remember the 12 hours huddled in our hallway wondering if we were going to make it out alive. We remember praying for the families that lost loved ones and lost everything. We remember the endless days, weeks and months after the storm spent searching, retrieving, cleaning, repairing and just putting one foot in front of the other with grit and determination because giving up was not an option! We remember the kindness and support of our family, friends, neighbors, staff and loyal GCK customers and are ever so grateful for their help and support! And although our shop and launch are currently closed for renovations, we are very pleased and thankful to report that we are offering guided tours, guided kayak fishing trips, kayak, paddle board and Ebike Rentals out of local parks in Cape Coral, Matlacha and Pine Island. Although we miss our shop in Matlacha, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue doing what we love by offering our guests a first-rate experience and a chance to take in the natural beauty that surrounds us! For now, we are taking it one day at a time, staying focused, working hard and building resilience to come back better and stronger than ever! For more information about our services please visit our website at