Thursday, March 19, 2020

Manatee Paddle - Picnic Island

Dundee, Mike, and I put-in at Picnic Island, Ellenton, Florida, and headed upstream. We snaked along the shoreline and explored its  mangrove trail waterways. The paddle started as a relaxed afternoon kayaking on the Manatee River and would finish as a test of our stamina. 

The below video misses much of this 2-mile round trip section of the river, as it became difficult for me to take pictures and paddle.  First we searched a mangrove tunnel with an entrance and no exit. Second, We cross in a wide section of the river in a high wind. Third, we finished our return paddle to Picnic Island, facing strong winds and white cap waves.

As you will hear in the video, Dundee and I took a shoreline route in the mangroves. Videoing this mangrove tunnel was not possible due to the confines of the mangroves as well as discovering the mangrove water trail was a dead-end. We needed to back up our kayaks to exit the tunnel.

Given no traffic on the river, we decided to cross the river to get another view of the river’s habitat. We did this in against a strong incoming tide and wind It turned out what I thought was “the other shore” was a narrow mangrove forest called Marsh Island. I learned we were looking at a long narrow island as we went through a water trail through in the island and saw “the other side of the river.” You will see Marsh Island in the below map showing our paddling route in Red.  

Our paddle to return to Picnic Island turned into a 15-minute power sprint into strong winds, against an upriver tide, and white caps.

Enjoy our afternoon paddle. 

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