Not being an experienced kayaker it was with some trepidation I agreed to go and experience, once again, this little known water sport.
I have only been in a kayak once before and that was on the Thames, a very busy river and as the kayak encased my legs I felt extremely vulnerable and did not overly enjoy the experience.
In many ways I was very excited and thought to myself I can do this, as the waters off the coast of Florida cannot be compared to the River Thames!
We opted for the morning, as the waterway was potentially going to be less busy and the sun not quite so blisteringly hot; even in November the Florida weather is darn near perfect especially as we are located in the Tropical zone.
Parking is readily available at the marina there are lockers, a drinks machine and rest rooms. You are also able to leave your car keys, dropping those in the bay would not be too clever. Even though we took the camera and video with us, we decided to leave them behind, as we felt better safe than sorry.
After some tuition and fitting of life jackets, a sensible precaution. We then looked at the maps to decide on which way to head for. It was an easy choice we opted to head to the secret lagoon via the hidden mangrove tunnels; the word secret conjured up tales of pirates who sailed these waters a hundred years ago.
The kayaks were doubles, so this definitely, made me feel far more confident, knowing Bob would be with me. Getting into the kayak was a feat in itself as they are so low in the water. Of course Lawrence and Emma were in the kayak within minutes and were quietly chuckling at the oldies taking so long.
It was at this point I wanted to chicken out, as no way was I going to be able to get down so low and sit backwards into the kayak bobbing on the water.
However the staff were wonderful and said no problem; Bob got out and the kayak was pulled onto the pontoon and I was able to sit in the front of the kayak and once Bob was re-settled we were launched into the waters. We were off and it was truly amazing from this moment on. The kayaks were very stable and we gently paddled out towards the main waters, passing town homes and the boats moored in the marina. I have to say the boats seemed huge as we paddled by and I was a tad worried how it would be when they roared by us once out in open water. I need not have worried the boaters were very aware and slowed down so as not to cause huge wakes as they passed us by.
It did not take long to reach the crossing point of the Pine Island Ferry and this is the one section where you really do need to be sensible and follow the instructions given. Basically wait until the ferry has left the mainland and then scoot across, scoot hmm funny as I tend not to scoot anywhere, more a slow amble but with Bob’s assistance we scooted and safely left the crossing area behind us.
We stayed quite close to the shoreline as you do see more wild life and whilst we were quite confident on the water, it was still new to us and had we rolled being closer to the bank would be an easier swim.
Gaining more confidence we would soon turn into the wakes when they occurred and soon decided to cross to the other side of the bay. On this side are the waterside homes of Pine Island, one day I keep hoping, it was interesting seeing them close up.
There were plenty of seabirds and we saw the fin of a Dolphin but quite away from us following one of the boats out to the gulf. We stopped every so often to catch our breath and rest our muscles, the kayaks just gently bobbed. Occasionally our paddles met but we gained a rhythm, which I think surprised us both.
We did begin to think we would not make the mangrove as by now both Bob and I were tired, it is hard work paddling but with perseverance and determination we followed the others and made it to the tunnel. Here the waters were very shallow and crystal clear, we could hear the others but could not see them. The way through twisted and turned and the branches above were very low so we often had to duck.
It was worth it. It is quite strange in the mangroves and eerily silent I would have loved a guide who could have told so much about the fauna and little creatures swimming beneath us, perhaps next time.
We saw tree crabs, which we thought to begin with were tree spiders so then screams echoed through the mangrove and I tried to back peddle and turn the kayak so Bob and I at one point became stuck crossways. We laughed so much it hurt but that is what a holiday is about experiencing new things and having fun.
We turned in the lagoon and headed back, I have to admit it was far harder on the return as we were going against the flow and of course we were all tired but exhilarated at the same time.
Getting out of the kayak was the same as getting in, we were pulled onto the pontoon and I was up and out.
We said goodbye and thanked everyone for there patience and look forward to our next visit when we shall kayak again and head northwards.
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