I’ve felt like a northerner all month as most days have been gray and cold. For a Floridian, that can cause a serious case of cabin fever. A sure cure is to get out on the water. That’s what I did this past Saturday, January 23. I joined a group of 11 who booked a trip with professional guide Mike Siebel of Canoe Country Outfitters on a tour of the Weedon Island mangroves. The day started out a little foggy and cold, but blue skies soon opened up a clear view all the way to Howard Frankland Bridge. Experienced kayakers warned me to stay away from the mangroves in low tide. But Mike made sure we didn’t get out there just to get stuck in the mud and clam beds. At this time of year, the shallow water is pristine. The sky was a cloudless winter blue not often seen in Florida. Herons watched from a safe perch as we paddled by.
Even though trail markers direct kayakers where to go, it’s a confusing route through narrow tunnels that open up to a series estuaries.
So it is nice to have an experienced guide leading the way. There is nothing like paddling among these sturdy roots to appreciate how important they are to Tampa Bay. I’ve sea kayaked in the saltwater marshes off the coast of South Carolina, but I am ashamed to say this was my first trip in my own St. Petersburg backyard.
Towards the end of our three-hour adventure, we broke into a clearing just in time to see the mullet jumping like crazy. I wonder what got them all stirred up? Never did see what was happening, but the mullet were busy! Overhead a flock of white pelicans circled. The area is so rich with fish and wildlife, the Weedon Island Culture thrived here for over 800 years.
If you have a bit of cabin fever, call Mike at Canoe Country Outfitters and book a trip. By the way, he brings all the gear you need. Here is a 2 minute video of the trip!