From the Eyes of a True Florida Native

Being a native to the East Coast of Florida and growing up in and around the water, the outdoors are basically my whole life. Raised in the small town of Port Saint John, and only having one traffic light at the time, the woods, river, and a miscellaneous retention pond here and there was my only option to find something remotely fun to do. This is where I began to discover nature and how awesome it truly is. With a small creek and a plethora of woods right around the corner from the house, there was plenty for a little youngster to explore.

I started out by bringing home the small stuff like weird bugs, spiders, and other creepy crawlers, which led to snakes, lizards, turtles, and small fish.


Each day, my family might find little surprises in my room, the house, or the back yard.  I can’t tell you how many times I lost a snake in the house, only to have my dad, brothers, or sister accidentally find it.

The final straw was my dad finding a 4 foot long alligator in my bedroom!

Here’s how that events of that particular day took place. My dad was putting my clothes away in my room while I was hanging out at a friends house. I should mention that I took the tape off of the alligators mouth before I left because I thought to myself “man it would suck to have my mouth taped shut all day.” You can only imagine how well this went over with my old man when he found that alligator mouth wide open!

After the lecture of how much trouble I could have gotten in, and being grounded for a of couple weeks, you would think I’d have learned my lesson. However, fascination with nature made it all too worth catching the next bigger, badder, cooler, and not to mention more dangerous creature.

As I grew up, I learned that its best to stay back and view nature from afar, do your best to preserve our beautiful ecosystems, and only kill something you plan on eating. That’s when fishing, and later on hunting became a big part of my life.

captain dustin alligator
shark fishing

Born and raised on the space coast, Kennedy Space Center is literally in my back yard. I was spoiled growing up watching the space shuttle and countless rockets send astronauts and satellites into space.

Even to this day, I still get excited watching these space ships blast off!

I can only imagine what people must have felt like in the 60s when the United States started launching rockets and humans into space. I feel like I got to feel some of that same awe people must have felt at that time when Space X recently launched a Falcon 9 rocket. They launched a rocket into space, released cargo, and successfully landed the rocket on the very pad it launched from, making history. This was probably one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen. It felt nostalgic to hear the sonic booms when the rocket re-entered the atmosphere since we haven’t heard them since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

The Kennedy Space Center is located within the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline on the entire eastern seaboard of the United States. It doubles as a national wildlife sanctuary which consist of over 139,000 acres of refuge.

space x
space x
space coast

You see, growing up in Florida has shaped the man I am today. Every job I have ever had as an adult in some way, shape, or form has had to do with the outdoors. I have recently started a very adventurous and exciting Eco Tour business and I love it! My boat has an on-board aquarium we like to call our “learning tank”. I get to fill it with interesting creatures each day before my tours, which means I still get to explore our cool ecosystems in search for the most interesting creatures so I can show my customers what lurks beneath the surface and on the sea floor! I get to take my customers through 3 unique eco-systems – the Atlantic Ocean, Port Canaveral, and the Banana River Lagoon. No two tours are the same, which makes it exciting for my customers and myself!

Time and Tide II
On-board Aquarium
learning tank

I really do enjoy showing people the beauty that Florida has to offer – from the exciting dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees to the rarely seen world beneath the surface to the awe-inspiring Space Coast. I love sharing what I’ve learned over the years about different kinds of creatures, history, and sights. I may not know the exact scientific terms however, what I share is comprehensible and easy to understand.  This blog is another way for me to express how much I love my home and all of the awesome creatures we have. I hope everyone gets the chance to experience this area at least once, however, you may need to visit many times to fully experience what this place I get to call home really has to offer.