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MOTI: Patricio Island, one of the lesser known isles in North Pine Island Sound

November 30, 2016
By DENNIS LeTENDRE , Pine Island Eagle

Not many people hear about Patricio Island. It is about 2 miles southwest of Bokeelia in North Pine Island Sound. On maps it is shaped like an upside down "J". It is now part of the Pine Island Sound National Wildlife Refuge. Nowadays, people fish the mangroves and small inlets around Patricio Island. You can find just about any of the most popular game fish around the island; snook, redfish, jacks, and others hang out here. The small bay inside the "J" shaped island is called "Old Tom Bayou." I am still trying to find out who "Old Tom" was.

There is a subtle history tied to Patricio Island. There are middens and shell piles on the west side of the island, showing presence of Calusa Indians using the island. The middens are not large, only about 5 feet high. Around the late 1800s, it is said that Cuban fishermen used the island as a fish camp and to dry their catch on occasion.

When Barron Collier bought and developed Useppa Island, he had his workers plant a garden and fruit trees on Patricio Island. The gardens provided vegetables and fruit which were harvested, prepared and cooked for his guests on Useppa. The remnants of a pier or docks are still visible on the southwest side of the island, in about 3 feet of water.

Last time I visited Patricio Island, I saw some old boards, and nails on top of one of the middens. It is possible that there was a small cabin or shed for the garden caretakers during Collier's use of the island. There is a nice view of Useppa, Cabbage Key and Cayo Costa from the top of the middens, looking west. If you do walk on the island, please leave any artifacts, as it is now government property.

You can visit MOTI during the Winter Hours (Nov. 1 through April 30), Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, 1-4 p.m. It's closed Mondays.

Dennis LeTendre is historian for Museum of the Islands.



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