Now for the BIG EXPERIENCE. When the owner of the rental asked who wanted to go first, I shot my hand up and said "ME!" because I was afraid I'd lose my nerve. I got in, then immediately froze and began to shake uncontrollably, like one of those panic attacks I sometimes get. Some men watching from the sidelines were cheering me on and offering soothing words to help me relax. Suddenly, my mind switched a gear and said, "Get it together or you WILL die in this contraption!" So, I began to paddle, unsure of where the strokes would take me. But I quickly caught on and joined the others. Go me!
The only thing I brought with me was a bottle of water, binoculars, and a zip-lock bag to hold my iphone. We actually paddled near several alligators, one of them just a baby. Another gator roared nearby and that one really spooked me. The kayaks were a bit flimsy and it was a challenge to not tip over, so using binoculars or my iphone did not happen often. My only goal was to not drown or swim with the gators. Oh! If there was a log jutting out of the water, it seemed my kayak made a beeline for it. I hit almost everyone in my path!
Besides gators, we saw anhingas, cormorants, a yellow-throated warbler, a northern parula, and a common gallinule. Floating among the cypress trees was so peaceful. I loved every minute and so did Double D! We will both be doing that again. Soon!
iPhone shots from the day:
|Our birding instructor, Jane, has her own kayak so she entered from a different section of the lake.|
Double D spotted her and alerted the group behind him.
|There she is on the right with another birder from our class who borrowed an extra kayak from Jane.|
|We all stopped to admire something here; don't remember what, but I'm sure it was cool.|
|Double D and new friends.|
|Jane shooting a young alligator resting on a log.|
|Teaser shot from the nesting site. Great egret in breeding plumage, ready for business.|