Marco Island

In Kayak Trips on April 9, 2009 at 1:24 am

We just got back from a wonderful week of paddling even in lousy weather.  Peggy, Cheryl, & I loaded up our yaks on monday, hooked up the trailer, and we headed South.  The original intentions were to meet up with Mike & Trish on tuesday morning and venture out of Marco Island to Kice Island for an evening of beach camping and paddling, while having our trailer back at Collier/Seminole State Park as a base camp (someplace to shower).  Well once again the weather was not on our side.  A front moved in bringing wind gusts up to 40mph.  So having a base camp set up, we did a couple of day paddles instead.  Cheryl stayed in the Princess Suite of the trailer, and has become the newest of our surrogate children.

As we set up camp Monday evening, I spotted a yak on a car down the loop.  It turned out to be a “Impex Cat 5”.  We introduced ourselves to the owner, a Robert Keeler of Toronto.  He was meeting a group of friends in Everglades City on friday, and was staying here till then.  Talking with him, we discovered we knew some other mutual paddlers.

Tuesday morning  Mike and Trish showed up while the winds were still howling.  We decided it would be better to do some day paddles instead of an overnight paddle.  Safety being our concern.  We decided to go paddle the “Black River” which starts there at the park.  We invited our new friend Robert to join us and off we went.  Because of the late start,  the fact we wanted a long paddle tomorrow, and we were going out with the tide (yes it is a tidal brackish water river), we went about 3 1/2 miles before I turned everyone around to head back up stream.  I thought a 7 mile paddle was a nice warm up for tomorrow.  We noticed that there was no wildlife to speak of out, it kinda surprised us.  I had made Beef Stew for the trip and so we took turns taking showers (there was only one at our part of the park) and then sat around the camp fire eating stew and talking.  Mike & Trish set up their tent in lieu of kicking Cheryl out of the Princess Suite and onto the couch.  Robert said his good nights and went back to to his tent.

Wed morning we invited Robert over for breakfast, and he showed some intrest in joining us for todays paddle.  We drove over to the south end of Marco Island to the marina, our lunches packed and putting Trish in charge of the maps, we headed out for Kice Island.  We managed to paddle for about 15 minutes when 5 of the 6 of us decided we had over dressed and headed for the first beach we could find to shed some clothes!  What can I say?  It was much colder under that tree at the marina than out in the full sun on the water.  The water on the Gulf was still in great turmoil from the front that blew through, so we decided to paddle on the inside of the island chain.  With Trish having the maps, Robert and I having our trusty GPS’s, we found the channel that seperates Kice from Romano Islands and headed out to the Gulf.  Again we were paddling with an outgoing tide and it was a very leisurly paddle.  The channel was about a mile long and what we saw when we reached the end was a surf that would make surfers drool.  Actually, the mouth of the channel had a lot of different types of water conditions.  There was a major washing machine, an eddy, a standing wave, and a major surf break.  We all went through the washing machine, but the others headed out to play in the surf, Peggy & I headed for the beach.  It is not that we cant handle the water for we have been in much worse, but it is not what we enjoy paddling.  Way to much work and you know you are going to get wet.  The water was rough enough that the wave carried us both about 8 feet up onto the beach, and then tried to pull our yaks out from under us while we were getting out.  The others quickly tired of playing and joined us on the beach for lunch. 

Robert & Cheryl eating lunch

Robert & Cheryl eating lunch

 Across the channel was the first wildlife we had seen.  We had a Mama Osprey with a not quite flying baby in the nest that we watched for a while.


Others went for a walk down the beach where Trish found a piece of driftwood she tried to fit in everones hatches, but it was just 2 inches to long.  So she tied it on the back of her yak where it looked like an octopus sitting there. 


Michael pulled out his kite sail and played with the wind


and Trish dug out her fishing pole.  The picture of her record Snook and Redfish  didn’t come out (yes this is a fish story).


Cheryl & Robert went collecting seashells for a craft project that she does for her friends.

We packed up to head back because Mike, Trish, and Cheryl had to head back for work on thursday.  We rode the current into this mess, but Peggy & I had no idea how strong the tide was running out.  When we launched it grabbed us so hard that it took everything we had to get our yaks turned and into the channel.  By the time we were heading the right direction it had carried us back 100 feet.  Then to add insult to misery, the channel was not only flowing the wrong direction, but it was flat!  Neither Peggy’s or my boat likes flat water.  We had to pull our yaks the whole way up that channel and found ourselves behind everyone.  Anyone that knows Peggy & I knows that is not normal for us. 


 Once we rounded the tip of the island into the bay we had 2 foot waves and we took off.  Our prime contitions.  It didn’t take long before we had our relaxed stroke going and was 50 yards ahead in the lead.  While we paddled along a big Sea Turtle came up right in front of Peggy, and that made this whole trip worth everything for her!  We even had a pod of dolphins welcome us back to the marina, where the Osprey escort we picked up in the begining of the bay left us.

Coming back into the marina, the 2 of us decided to make a dock landing rather than trying to get out on the ramp without scraping our yaks on the concrete.  It may not be pretty, but it was effective.  Loading the yaks and gear, we drove the scenic way back to base camp.  Again while everyone showered and loaded gear, Peggy put together a pork chop dinner, cause that is what Peggy does.  She would never let anyone leave on an empty belly.  We said our good byes to Mike, Trish, and Cheryl (our newest children), and kicked back around our final fire talking of the fun we had.

Thursday morning we broke camp, loaded up the trailer and said our good byes to Robert (our newest paddle friend) who was breaking camp as well to continue on his journey.  He told us what a wonderful family we have, and would love to paddle with us again.  I hope he takes it up the next time he is in the Tampa area.  As always, it is sad to come home.

Even though no one replied to my inquiry, we had a great time and would recomend this trip to everyone.


Okay Florida Paddlers

Can anyone help me here?  Some friends and I are looking to go kayak camping down to Marco Island and was wondering if anyone knew of any islands down there that we can paddle to pitch our tents, fix our meals, (have a fire maybe) and perfer it to be all legal.  I know, I take all the fun out of it.

Otherwise we will be going to Collier/ Seminole State Park and driving to Marco to paddle.  If you have any suggestions, just contact me at kev_th@yahoo.com 

Thanks, and stay tuned to see how our trip goes in a couple of weeks….


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