We kayak and sail into some of the most pristine and diverse marine eco-systems in the entire State of Florida and the world. It is a very well protected and accessible paradise. The 10,000 islands estuary is the nursery and home to many hundreds of species of birds and fish. We offer day trips into the back bays and out of the passes of the Everglades region.
We use the tides to our benefit as we try our best to use the tide going out and then coming back. Tides run in a 6 hour cycle typically.
This eco-system is a labyrinth of Islands numbering more than the numbered name of 10,000.
These islands are mostly mangroves growing on oyster bars and is the support system of many tiny fish and organisms.
Just as Florida is very flat, so are these estuaries. The shallow waters allow for kayakers on the surface to see many of these sea creatures extremely up close and personal. The tides vary around the 2' range and the water depths we travel can vary from just a few inches to a few feet. There are deeper places we cover but a deep spot like a special fishing hole may be only 8 or 10 feet at the most. It's not uncommon to come eye to eye with such marvelous creatures as bottle nosed dolphins, manatees and as many as 4 species of sea turtles to name just a few. It's also not surprising to see huge leaping tarpon or leopard rays. The extremely endangered sawfish will also be there to see on these flats. The changing tides allow for a lot of interesting things to appear and disappear on the twice daily cycle which presents different worlds and places for the moving animals to inhabit. We mariners on kayaks are presented a world that that is incredible as it is miraculous. Photographers will be astounded with the great photo opportunities.
This habitat also provides for a very fine fishing adventure. We will take you there. Licensing and tackle is up to you and no live bait will be used and unless the fish is consumed immediately on the beach during a camping trip, we require catch and release practices as we will only take your photo with your fish if you like.
We adhere to leave-no-trace principles and all are tours are eco-tours and fishing is just a side adventure for those who wish that experience specifically.
We use Hobie kayaks with mirage drives as our best option to get to where we need to be. Everything is human or naturally powered, even our support vessel.
The Mirage Hobies are sit on tops and self bailing, which in our region of the world works best. The warmer temperatures and shallow waters allow for a very relaxing experience and no skirts and wet exits. These kayaks paddle extremely well but it's the pedal feature that really sets them apart. Dealing with the tides in the passes is much easier with the pedal and steering system of our kayaks. The sail feature is superb and we use outriggers on each and larger rudders as well to enhance stability and safety. Capsizing is rare as we stay mostly on the flatter waters of the bays and only venture into the Gulf on a limited basis and close to shore. Shallow waters keep other larger boats far offshore and in the channels and out of our realm. Another nice feature afforded when traversing the tidal planes.
Our overnight camp tours are very special as you can fully experience life in islands to the fullest. We use a small support sailboat to support and carry supplies and food and camping gear so we can go in our kayaks less encumbered and free to come and go without all the careful packing and extra weight required when just using the kayaks alone.
We do outfit our kayaks however with the ability to go for a full night alone.
Flashlights, navigation lights, charts, anchors, coast guard safety equipment, first aid , thermal blankets, extra water, epirbs, life vests, extra cushions, extra food, sunscreen, bug spray is all standard equipment for day trips as well as multi-day trips.
You should bring a hat and sunscreen and water resistant jacket. Surf shoes are ideal footwear. Light weight sneakers or boat shoes also work well. Pedaling can be done barefooted but it's good to have some surf shoes handy and easy to slip on and off as many areas and beaches have shells and sharp rocks and maybe even oysters that can hurt and cut your feet. Hiking boots or shoes you wear for general walking around is not acceptable.
For camping, bare feet and sandals can be okay on the sandy shore but some shoes for the kayak should be additional.
We will provide dry bags for your use and all sleeping gear and tents with pillows, sheets, blankets and pads. If you have a favorite pillow or pad or a change of clothes we can bring that along in our support vessel if preferred but can probably fit most everything personal in the generous space available in the Hobies.
For the on the beach overnight, we have a screened tent for bugs and a campfire and cooking gear and all eating utensils. Seating and pads will be provided for resting and watching. Sun shade canopy will be available as well.
Towels for all and a shower set up and reading lights for inside the tents will be provided. We will also have a cooler(s) with cold drinks. If you would like some alcoholic beverages we can take that in the support vessel too. Just let us know whatever you need.
For the beach nights you should bring a sweater or sweatshirt, long pants and socks as the night can get cool after a day in the sun and socks are good against bugs like the no seeums that are sometimes legendary.
Again, a hat is a very good thing to have along.
After booking please call or text a guide directly. We can discuss your preferences and get things better and ready beforehand. (239 280-8837 or 205-3754, 353-1648 office.)
Please bring your preferred sunscreen and bug spray and your special water bottle if you have one. We will provide those items for you however regardless.
We can discuss your expectations and what we should expect to see based on the time and tides and weather and recent trends.