Cruising with Carter

Cruising with Carter

photos and story by Useppa Gin

Captiva Cruises donated a sunset boat ride to the 2014 Fire Department Fund Raiser.  The successful bidders were Tim and Judith Sear.  Part of the equation satisfied, they only needed a reason to celebrate.  Old Timer and old time Useppan Carter Bacon turned 90.  What better way to observe such a momentous occasion than cocktails, a toast, and good friends aboard ship?

Thank you to Captiva Cruises, the Fire Department, the Sears, and Useppa’s oldest resident, Carter Bacon.  Besides Carter, guests of honor included his long suffering, I mean, devoted wife, Mary, and his son Eric.

Happy Birthday to the Wizard!  Until next year and 91.

2014 POA Hoedown

P.O.A. Party:  Out West Island Style

photos and story by Useppa Gin

Three generations on the dance floor, finger licking good food, and good times; cowboys and cowgirls filled the Tarpon Bar for the annual Useppa Property Owners Association Party.

Izaak Walton Fishing Tournament

Boys + Girls + Fish = An Izaak Walton Kids Fishing Tournament

photo and story by Useppa Gin

Izaak Walton Kids Fishing Tournaments have long been a tradition on Useppa.  Awards are given for 1st fish, Last fish, Ugliest fish, Most fish, etc.  But the point isn’t the award.  It isn’t the competition.  Izaak Walton Kids Tournaments are held to introduce our youngest islanders to the fun of fishing.  They teach the tradition of catching a fish, measuring it, and then setting it free, releasing it back into the water to watch it swim away.

Children who once fished the tournaments are now grownups helping new anglers learn how to put a shrimp on a hook, how to cast a line, and reel in the big one.  Grandparents teach another generation of family fishermen.  Moms and dads get as excited as their children when that first fish flops its way down the dock.

Join us next time with your own family, or just have fun watching.  It’s part of life on Useppa.

New Year’s Eve 2014

New Year’s Eve on Useppa

* Photographs  by Natalie Kerr, Story by Useppa Gin

For one night Useppa became a South Pacific island instead of a small, private island off Florida’s west coast.  Menu, music, fire dancers, and guests created a different world, and a unique experience that all will remember.

*Special thanks to volunteer photographer, Natalie Kerr.  She is only thirteen, but her poise and talent are the marks of a future professional.

Wassail Bowl 2014

Christmas Eve at the Collier

Story and photos by Useppa Gin

Paul Miller was in fine form and the Useppa Chorale ready to sing.  The sounds of old standards and Christmas carols filled the inn.  Children were laughing, people singing, all dressed in holiday finery for the island’s once a year musical gathering of family and friends.  Stephanie S. led everyone in “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”  Steve K. directed “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and Miller sang “Silent Night” in German with his grandson Tor C.

Family pictures round the Christmas tree.  Yesterday’s children are now this year’s young adults.  Izaak Walton Fishing Tournament playmates have graduated from college.  Last year’s little kids still hang out in the pool and at the hot tub, but only after dark.  A new generation of Useppans takes its place in island history passing down island traditions.

Parents are now grandparents.  Those once babysat are now the babysitters.  And on Christmas Eve, past and present come together under the leadership of an eighty-seven year old conductor, younger at heart than most of his choir.

Annual Employee Christmas Party

2014 Employee Christmas Party

Roxanne Fiorello Employee of the Year

JR Hillier Employee of the 4th Quarter 2014

Story and photos by Useppa Gin

The Annual Useppa Employee Christmas Party was held in the Tarpon Bar on Christmas Eve.  Laughter, a few tears, gratitude, memories and celebration…good ways to end the year.

The Christmas Fund, donated by Useppa Island Club members, was distributed based on years of service and particular jobs with more given to “behind the scenes folk” not visible for regular tipping.  Lucky numbers determined recipients of Santa gifts in stockings hung on the tree.  Gift cards and cash for fortunate winners.

Applause and backslapping followed JR through the crowd as he received his award as Employee of the 4th Quarter.  Then there was a standing ovation for Roxanne when Tim Fitzsimmons announced her name as Employee of the Year.

Thanks to Lou Ann and her crew.  Thanks to Useppa Island Club.  Thanks to Club Members.  Thank you all for making it a great end to the year.

And thank you to all of the employees of Useppa who make the magic of this island happen.