In this past year, I’ve been to Florida twice. Once to Tampa and, more recently, to Fort Lauderdale. Previously, when I thought about visiting Florida, it was all about sun, beaches and a mouse. The last couple trips taught me that Florida has so much more to offer.
I was able to take in the views of the water, not only the ocean, but also on the river. I joined other travel bloggers as part of the TBEX conference in Fort Lauderdale on a kayak adventure on the Middle River with Atlantic Coast Kayak Company.
I am a big fan of kayaking. I fell in love with it during a work retreat on a lake in Minnesota. I find it very peaceful being out on the water.
Our kayaking adventure started at Richardson Park in Wilton Manors with Atlantic Coast Kayak Company. We were given a short safety talk, paired up with a partner and we were ready to board our kayaks.
We were in a group of about 10. The kayaks were tandem, so we paired up. My kayak partner’s name was easy to remember as her name was also Lisa. We each grabbed our oar and took to the water. I will admit that I felt a little guilty, as my rowing partner probably did more than her share of the paddling work on this journey down the river. I only felt a little guilty since she lives in Tampa and goes kayaking and sees the beautiful sites of the Florida landscape often. I had a small point and shoot camera and took advantage of this to take some snapshots of the surroundings.
This was a great urban adventure. Looking up, I saw tall palm trees filled with coconuts, and mangroves (these are trees or shrubs with roots tangled together). I couldn’t get enough of taking pictures of palm trees while I was in Florida for the week.
Looking around, I was in awe finding large iguanas and several different types of birds in the wild just looking back at us as we cruised on by.
While I had briefly forgotten about the fact that we were in Florida, land of alligators and crocodiles, I later discovered that I needn’t worry. The Middle River is too salty for alligators and too busy for crocodiles.
We were told to watch out for the possibility of a passing manatee as they do frequent this area. None in our group identified one. However, I did hear that a second group the following day did see one. When we were in Tampa, we saw them at the zoo in their cloudy pool and we had just missed their wild migration in the area then as well. While it would have been cool to see them on this kayak trip, perhaps next time.
We passed many houses that I would love to have called our winter home.
We had two friendly and knowledgeable tour guides keeping us together, leading us down the river and providing educational information about the area. They cruised past us on stand-up paddle boards.
This unique tour allowed us to see the area away from the “noise” of the city. The boats were comfortable and the river was easy to navigate.
After the tour, I got to experience another first. I got to drink straight from a coconut with lime juice. It was pretty good and refreshing.
It was a great tour with a great group and crew. I would definitely recommend a visit and tour. In addition to the tandem kayaks, you can also rent single kayaks or stand up paddle boards. You can rent them for a self-guided or professionally guided tours by the hour.
Ready to hit the water and check out the area by kayak or stand up paddleboard? Check out http://www.atlanticcoastkayak.com/ for more information.
Disclosure: Thanks to Atlantic Coast Kayak Company for hosting our group as part of TBEX. However, all views and opinions are my own.