Kayaking and Nature

29th October 2015
I love to go kayaking. Mind you, I can’t swim, but that doesn’t stop me.

Recently, on vacation in Orlando to see my family, my son in law asked if I wanted to go kayaking. We borrowed kayaks from friends of his and went to King’s Landing in Apopka to put in.

We started out early afternoon, so we had to push to make the 4:00 pick up time at the end of the eight miles. But we did take time to have a sandwich about midway. Going down the river, I was amazed at the peace there. The only noise to be heard was the occasional plane overhead, the movement in the underbrush of animals and the click of the shutters of our cameras.

Even though my arms were aching and my legs were sunburned, I quickly said “yes” when he asked if I wanted to go back again a couple of days later.

This time we were at King’s Landing early in the morning and were on the water by 9am. Being out on the water before others gave us the opportunity to see a bit more this time. We saw turtles lined up on fallen branches and alligators sunning themselves on partially submerged tree trunks.

Since we were paddling downstream, it was a challenge at times to maneuver into position where you could take a few shots. If you were lucky, there were vines that you could grab a hold of and swing the kayak around into position, holding onto them with one hand while taking your shots with the other.

With the warning that we needed to remember that the wildlife was just that – wild - and dangerous to approach (and the knowledge that earlier in the week a woman had an arm ripped off by a gator when she swam into the lily pads and too close to a nest), we backed off when a gator – we estimated him to be about 8 ½ feet – let us know that we shouldn’t come too close. He stayed on the log as we turned our kayaks around at a respectable distance and took our shots.

This was the first time I had been in such close contact with wildlife in their natural environment. And, even though I came away with even more sunburn on my already sunburned legs (although my arms didn’t ache as bad), it was truly an experience that I’ll never forget.