Beyond BOW – Intro to Kayaking – Weeki Wachee Paddle
June 5, 2010 Hosted by Good Time Kayaking and Not a Clue Adventures
We partnered with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman program to host a beginners paddle on the Weekie Wachee River. Our group met at 8 am and we handed out gift bags that included information on programs in Florida, and information on local vendors that support our events. After everyone checked in Robin Hamm from good time kayaking introduced various kayaks to our group, reviewed paddling techniques and how to enter and exit kayaks.
Soon we were all on the river experiencing all the beauty around us. We were a very diverse group from many different age groups and backgrounds. We all had one thing in common, our love of the outdoors!
We were all pleased with the crystal clear water and the wildlife all around us. We saw critters as soon as we hit the water a mother Wood Duck and her ducklings. Soon after we saw mallards, cooters/ turtles, and even a raccoon on shore. About a mile upstream we stopped on a sandy beach and Robin gave us all emergency instruction on recovering from a flipped kayak in deeper water. This is a wonderful thing to know and everyone was grateful for that portion of the class.
The water was a perfect 72 degrees, crystal clear and flowing steadily to the gulf – which was where we were heading. The first few hours paddling the river was lined by beautiful lush forests on either side. We stopped many times to swim and snack and relax at beautiful, serene sandy beaches. We were able to admire schools of mullet and other fish swimming by and large eagle’s nests high in the trees.
As we paddled into a more residential portion on the river we were greeted by a beautiful manatee. So graceful just under the water, it passed us undisturbed. The wildest “wildlife” on the river was a group of 50 paddlers from Tampa Adventure Group (TAG). We spent most of the time trying to avoid this large group. There were many people on the river; one even was pulling a toy alligator. That sure turned some heads! They mostly gathered around the many jumps and rope swings that we just paddled past. To really enjoy this river come out on a weekday! It was nice to see an FWC officer on the river keeping all in-line and safe.
By 2 pm we were hungry and we tied up across from Rogers Park at the Upper Deck Restaurant. They offer fantastic food at good prices and a view of the river to beat. I recommend the Blackened Smothered Chicken Sandwich! We had about 1 hour of paddling left after lunch that took us through beautiful brackish marshland, the wind was picking up and as we got closer to the gulf there was no longer a restriction on boat wakes so ride was bit more difficult. We saw yet another eagle’s nest and other shorebirds flying about.
As we approached the end of our journey we saw the American flag flying high in the wind at the point where the river meets the Gulf of Mexico. It was a beautiful site for sure. As we paddled by the oyster beds and the tall marsh grasses I could not help but wonder if the oil from the BP spill will change this area forever. There is so much life right there in those marshes. There were many birds nesting and caring for young.
We plan on taking this trip again very soon. If you do not want to wait for us contact Good Time Kayaking directly at www.goodtimekayaking.com
Until next time…