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There is a new kayak launch on a maritime hammock at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs Park. A scenic 8' wide boardwalk connects the launch area to the parking lot, which includes trailer parking. A raised bathroom pavilion has an observation deck and water fountains. The concessionaire, Paddling Adventures, rents boats, and will lend you kayak carts for free. You may leave the wheels at the launch (attended by staff), to avoid the extra walk back to the rental office in the parking area. The launch ramp itself is a carpet-covered natural ramp with a gentle slope that made sliding boats in and out easy. There were a few picnic tables on the hammock, also.
From this new launch, nine paddlers gathered and pushed off into the mangrove-lined salt marsh, past an unfazed juvenile night heron standing in the shallows. Orange trail markers along the Salt Spring Run led us towards the gulf. An east wind was blowing offshore, thinning the waters. The brackish water can hide scratchy limestone shelves and oyster shells , so we paddled to Durney Key first to allow the tide to rise more before heading up to the springs. We soon passed the Energy and Marine Center adjacent to the park, and paddled under their walkway toward Cow Key. I saw a roseate spoonbill, and several osprey. Mullet were jumping, and a few fishing boats were hanging in coves.
Sharan Nickles, a local resident, lead us around rocks and oyster beds on our trip across the bayou. With the wind at our back, the mile between Cow Key and Durney Key zipped by, on water a little bumpier than some level 1 paddlers experienced before. But all did well. We could see several stilt homes on the horizon, about a mile offshore, and we watched a casino boat navigate out the boat channel.
We crossed the narrow boat channel from the Pithlachascotee River together, and landed on the lee side of a sandy spit on the Durney Key for lunch, sharing the island with a few power boaters and lots of fiddler crabs.
We had a fine view of a stilt house, whose roof was covered with cormorants, gulls and terns.
Paddling directly into a 10 mph wind on the return, we paused at Harborpointe for a rest and a peek at an ostentatious coastal house. This was quite a contrast to the old-timer stilt houses in the water.
During our short crossing, we saw a small power boat assisting a couple who had capsized from their double sit-on-top fishing kayak near the boat channel. I wonder if their cooler was for fish or beer?
We headed back across Boggy Bay and rejoined the kayak trail. The water had deepened so that we did not have to worry about the path we chose. We paddled about a half mile past the launch into Salt Spring.
The final path to Salt Spring, marked by surveyor tape, was a narrow and twisty mangrove tunnel. The spring itself, which divers mapped as 320' deep, was hidden in a round silty pool. The tide overpowers the flow from the spring.
We followed a short trail on the far side of the pool to a short canal that dead-ended. Back in the Salt Spring, I looked for a deep spot and practiced a roll with Al Tilson before heading back to the launch.
We heard the grunt call of a Virginia Rail on the paddle back, but it was hidden from view in the reeds. Total distance paddled was 5.8 miles.
There is plenty more to see. I'd like to return with a plastic boat to see the tidal waterfalls on the limestone arches near Salt Spring at low tide. And to explore Cauldron springs, which we bypassed this time, and points further north along four miles of the salt marsh preserve where there are many more tidal creeks and lakes.
I got stung by a stingray while at the take out at Picnic Point in Tampa Bay.I was wearing sandals, but the ray's tail sliced me between the foot-bed and heel straps. It felt at first like a supercharged bee sting, but as the toxin slowly worked itself out of my calloused heel and into my bloodstream, the pain became excruciating and disabling. I was crying like a baby and cursing every red light that delayed me as I drove to the nearest urgent care clinic.
A long soak in hot water (113°F is ideal) neutralized the effects of the toxin, and ibuprofen reduced inflammation. I was amazed how quickly the pain melted away with this simple treatment.Antibiotics were prescribed to prevent infection.
From now on, my first aid kit will include a few reusable chemical heating packs. Applied to a ray wound with an ace bandage, a hot pack should provide pain relief. I’d hate to be caught out on a paddle with that debilitating pain.
Rays bury themselves in the sand so are difficult to spot. Remember to do the stingray shuffle, and before you land your feet getting out of your kayak, poke around with your paddle to scare them off.
I have two kayaks in perfect condition for sale! Both Eddyline - both have seats... covers and skirts.... both sit ins...
First - Merlin XT...15' long ...46 Lbs... 350lb Capacity - Tracks extremely well, has great speed (I use to race in NY with this one)... keyhole is 35' and very comfy. 2 large storage areas.
Asking $1,000. for the Merlin
Kayak #2: - Sandpiper -30 Lbs. you can throw it over your shoulders - 350 Lbs. capacity tracks very well and amazingly stable ..baffles are included.... 12' long and 28" beam - keyhole is 48"
Asking $500. for the Sandpiper
Call Camille at 727-667-9011 - please leave a message as I might be at work.... Thank you!
I am interested in ksyaking among the glaciers in Alaska. Does anyone have any experience in the area tgatncould give me some tips?
Knowing the value of belonging to a paddling club I joined TBSK before my recent three week trip to Florida. I want to express my thanks to everyone I met on the four club outings (and meeting) during my trip. Very welcoming and enjoyable people to spend time with! Now I'm back in Wisconsin where we can walk (and drive) on our lakes (bummer). My wife and I will be back in FL this fall as snow-birds and VERY MUCH look forward to getting together with you again!
Special thanks to the club leaders I met. You know, we know...you are awesome for your contribution in making TBSK a great club!
Safety paddlers and ground crew needed for this years Frogman Swim off Gandy to Picnic Island. All proceeds go to help the families of Navy Seals killed in action. Contact is Kurt Ott at frogmanswim@g mail. Date is Jan 15th. Paddlers should be experienced in open water. Each paddler will be assigned a swimmer to escort . Ground help also needed.
A study by Florida International University of Dolphins in The Everglades and Florida Bay reveals the highest level of Mercury poisoning ever recorded and much of it is caused by leaves from mangroves that fall in brackish water and mix with bacteria. The mixture results in highly toxic Methylmercury polluting the waters dolphins swim in...The east coast has recently suffered a major dolphin kill but no word on if this was one of the causes. and no. . word on possible effect on humans who paddle in brackish mangrove water but an an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If concerned call the science department at FYI. They should have more details
Canoe and Kayak once a monthly then a bi monthly is now a quarterly magazine. The latest issue while fat and nice is actualy two issues and includes the once yearly Gear Guide Issue. If you want to see how much sea kayaking has declined this is a good example. Numerous boat makers..including NDK and Valley are no shows and when it comes to paddling gear only MTI and Level Six answered the call. Bottom line: Canoe and Kayak is on the same stream that killed SeaKayaking Magazine because without support from the industry it cannot continue to exisit . This issue 's main article is house written and those great photographs are probably alot cheaper to run then paying for articles written by outsiders. It's an old publishing trick...when you have space to fill run a photograph..With the loss of advertisers,C and K has alot of space to fill.
I don't know how many of you read Terry Tomalin in the Tampa Bay Times (aka the St. Pete Times). He was an avid outdoors person who loved to hike, fish, kayak and write wonderful stories about his adventures--you name it, I think he had done it. He suffered a heart attack earlier this year and passed away, and Bill Jackson's is sponsoring a memorial paddle in his memory on Sunday, Dec. 4. I am planning to paddle--anyone interested in joining me? (I'll be doing the 7.5 mile paddle from Picnic Park in Tampa, but there are also 3-mile and 1-mile paddles from North Shore Park in St. Petersburg (where the Picnic Park paddlers will come ashore). This web site has more info:
New member and the first trip with the club.
Had a great time and met some real nice people, the trip was very well organized with great tour guides and enjoyed the mangrove Trail. Looking forward to more trips with club.
Thanks Cynthia for a nice summer time paddle!