Island travelers come and go to Boca Grande daily and they all must cross over GIBA’s faithful swing bridge. But did you know that once you cross the bridge on your way off of Gasparilla Island you are actually on a land mass that is a “cape”? This particular cape is located on the map and is known as Cape Haze. There are two main features of a cape; there is a large portion of land that extends into a large water body like an ocean, then there is a change in both the shape and the direction taken from the rest of the coastline.
As one sits in the heavily humid air on a sweltering summer day, the 90+ temperature is mixed precariously with the high humidity and it feels more like a raging fever of delirium at 106 degrees. It was at this torrid moment that one starts to contemplate, “Why is this hot, beautiful area of Southwest Florida named Cape Haze?”
Is it perhaps because the air is so full of haze with the humidity? However, curious to note, one is often able to see a vast blue sky within a layer of high, wispy, white clouds. They drift on by offering up occasional patches of shade as they move along. A temporal albeit welcome short-term respite from the suffocating temperature. Coupled with only a 2 mph wind, the air stands almost still. The semi tropical climate of Gasparilla Island and Cape Haze have all the markings of the Caribbean and the vast expanse between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
According to capehaze.org, “The lands and waters around the Cape Haze peninsula were occupied for thousands of years by native Americans who lived primarily off the bounty of the sea. Around Charlotte Harbor today, there remain a significant number of shell middens and other historical sites through which archeologists are piecing together the lifestyles of the Calusa and Timucua tribes who controlled this area until the arrival of European explorers.”
Was it part of an indigenous word that brought the name to fruition? Could it be the fishermen or farmers who came after them?
However, it happened or whomever was involved in the naming of this peninsula and the town, many find Cape Haze enchanting, mysterious, and alluring. The sultry night scents, the morning mist, and daytime heat create something quite clear, not hazy, almost otherworldly. If you have a story, a fact, or a memory about how Cape Haze was named we would like to hear from you.