Camping, Treasure Coast style

Camping, Treasure Coast style

Spring Break for our county schools effectively started Thursday as school ended, and the early-birds would be starting their weekend then. So we opted to start ours at noon on Thursday for a long weekend of primitive camping on a spoil island in the Indian River.

Only one way for us to get there, by boat! (Yes that is a Mercury motor!)

Here is where we were going:

Here is out elevated campsite. Look how high that river bluff is! Almost enough to get a nosebleed the air is so thin up there!


Arriving with the gathering already underway:


What would a waterfront campsite be without a rope swing over the water?


The climb up to the campsite:



Here is Liz getting ready to make some breakfast over the fire pit. Gotta love a woman that can not only cook over an open fire, but do it in a bikini top while holding half a dozen eggs in one hand!



The fire pit, cooking central along with our morning view (and there is that rope swing again):



The close of another fine day living on the island.

Free food!
After dark, I took several of the kids out to noodle shrimp. Since a shrimp’s eyes glow a shiny gold, shrimp are easy to spot with a flashlight in the shallow flats around the island. Once spotted, we would shine the light upon them until they buried themselves in the sand. It was then a simple task to pin them to the bottom and then scoop them up.

Within a matter of minutes, we caught a couple dozen, took them back to camp. We put them in a foil pouch with some lime juice, sealed it, then dropped it on the edge of the camp fire to steam. About 5 minutes later, we ate some of the freshest shrimp possible. Tasty!

We also went spear fishing (my first time!) and did quite well before yet another rainstorm pushed us back to camp to dry shelter. I was instructed by a 12-year old girl, aptly named “Bubbles”, who seems to be part fish herself. Under her instruction, I was able to bring home several sheepshead, though her father was NOT impressed with the mullet I . Added to the pile of fish that Bubbles speared, we had a nice pile of fillets to cook over the campfire.

Yes, I ate the mullet, and wasn’t horrified by the taste, like I was lead to believe I would be. I’d eat mullet again, too. I’ve never been known as a fish snob.

Bubbles also scrounged up a few Pen Shell clams that we roasted over the coals and ate. Quite tasty when roasted over an oak and maple fire. Just wish we had more…and some butter!

This led me to a realization. Most of my friends say if they ever were stuck on a deserted island, they’d want to bring me along for food, shelter, and a better chance for survival. If I had the option, I’d bring Bubbles, that kid is a natural! May have to see about getting her into a class at Green Earth Survival School!


Notes for this trip:

  • We had some rain, and found we need to re-seal our tent.
  • We’ve graduated to cots for sleeping, and this has GREATLY improved our time camping. Nothing makes camping a chore like a poor night’s sleep (right Cheryl?).
  • A rug for in front of the tent is now a definite must-have for camping in Florida’s sandy soil.
  • A longer rain fly is needed for my Skeeter Beater Pro camping hammock.
  • The portable camp table we purchased at Gander Mountain was a great investment. Having an elevated work surface makes “roughing it” far less rough! (Review to follow)
  • Wind was an issue, but allowed me to work on my fire building in less than ideal conditions.
  • Island camping is something to definitely add to your bucket list if you like camping.


A good time was had by all…..



  1. And I wasn’t invited!!!! I’ve always wanted to taste Mullet. I’ve heard it wasn’t bad but just never got around to trying any.

    Sometimes if you put a light out over the water those shrimp will come to the light and you can just scoop them up. We used to catch buckets full that way down in the Keys. Ain’t nothing better them fresh shrimp right out of the water dipped in melted butter.


  2. I’ve actually gotten really close to that experience here in the MOV. I paddled a canoe to the north-western beach of Muskingum Island which is on the Ohio River just south of Marietta. Gathered driftwood for fuel and unrolled my sleeping bag next to the fire. When a barge goes by, the wake breaks on the beach in a soothing pattern. I awoke to watch the fog lift off the river. Very peaceful.

    1. I want to camp there….we used to camp on Middle Island creek out rt 18 in Doddridge county….that’s been a few years ago though…freshwater camping is missing one thing I wouldn’t miss a bit – salt crust on your skin!

  3. Great story! Makes me want to go camping…and fishing! Tim has a great story about spear fishing in Africa. If I remember correctly, they were going after grouper. As for sheepshead, I caught my first one off a pier last summer. It ONLY took me 4 hrs to catch one (but, out of me and Tim, I caught the biggest :) Delicious…and sneaky…fish! Looks like you had a great time and you guys look awesome!

  4. I’ve been daydreaming about spoil island camping for years (we vacation in Sebastian every year)…..thanks for the motivation!

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