2023: The Florida Keys

Kayaking Mangroves

March 15


While I was waiting to see if scuba diving was still in my future, we scheduled a guided kayak tour of some nearby mangroves. We met the guide at a dock behind a local restaurant. One other couple would be joining us. Both couples would be in tandem boats.

It had been gray all morning, and just as we got underway, it started to rain. Looks like I would be wet on both top AND bottom.

At least half the paddle was just to get to the mangrove tunnel. We had to paddle out thru the boat channel, across the width of a very wide creek, under a bridge with a tricky current, and then up the creek for a ways to find the side channel. It's just as well we didn't try this one without a guide.

On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for the peace of being alone. Our guide was a chatty Cathy with a very loud voice. He and the other fellow formed a bromance early on and they never shut up. Once we reached the side channel, we started to hang back just for some quiet. It was also a good vantage point to watch the other couple, who had no idea how to paddle a kayak. To be fair, the guide hadn't given them any help.

The side channel was lovely and peaceful. At least it would have been if Yelly McYellerson hadn't been right in front of us.

The mangroves became thicker and thicker as we went through. At one point Mike and I took our paddles apart and started using them like canoe oars. Eventually we were just pulling ourselves through the thicket by the overhead branches. Finally we emerged into a small lake at the end, where we spent a few minutes exploring before heading back the way we came.

I was disappointed that we didn't see any wildlife to speak of, but it was a pleasant enough way to get back into a kayak. Of course, I wasn't particularly tested since Mike was behind me doing most of the work. Still, it reignited my interest in getting out our own kayaks and striking out on our own. Easy for me to say -- I wasn't the one who'd be assembling them and hefting them around.