Kayaking on a Tuesday morningTue, 17th May '11, 12:20 pm::
I wish I could blog while kayaking. Some of my best thoughts come to me when I'm zipping through the water in my kayak. When picking kayaking locations, I always fall into the trap of grass is greener on the other side - the further away the destination, the more beautiful and fun I think it will be. Alas it is not always so. I went paddling down the Alafia River on Friday, about a 90-minute drive each way. The median water-depth was barely six inches and the eight-mile trip over numerous rocky rapids took about three gruesome hours. While it was pretty, it did not rank among my best paddles.
Last night I made plans to paddle three miles out to an island in the Gulf, about two hours away from my home, but this morning I didn't feel like driving that much. So I went to Lake Seminole Park, where Juliet and I take our puppies all the time, hardly something I consider a great kayaking destination. But this morning I was surprisingly proven wrong. I had a great time paddling five miles in about 80 minutes. It made me realize that to have a great time, you don't always need the best views, the perfect weather, or the optimal gear but rather a good-enough mix of all of them. While Lake Seminole is littered with houses on the western flank, the eastern shoreline is a nature preserve with lots of shady trees, seagrass, and wading birds. While early-morning (6-7am) is often my favorite time to paddle, 10am can still be fun.
With the cool sea breeze blowing over the lake, I paddled by seagrass that rose 10 feet over the water. The wind picked up and nudged my kayak towards the waterfowl habitat. I skimmed over water-lilies and sent many a wood-ducks fluttering away. I paddled past dilapidated wooden docks and under the 102nd Avenue bridge that rumbled when cars raced across, a hundred feet above me. I saw, heard, and felt everything distinctly and consciously. A fish jumped out of water here and a pelican splashed into the water there. You could call this a typical Florida paddling trip but for reasons I can't explain, it was akin to meditation for me.