Monday, March 24, 2014

Adventures in Kayaking

I am happy to report that our birding and kayaking went off without a hitch. We carpooled with two really sweet ladies who were planning to kayak for the first time also. In all, there were nine of us with only three that had prior experience. They were very helpful to us newbies and nervous nellies.

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.
Linking to the wonderful Eileen at Saturday's Critters!

40 comments:

Anni said...

How Fun!!!! Love the breeding display of the egret. You're a brave soul....and I just KNOW you two will do this again, and often.

Anvilcloud said...

I am impressed. Bravery is about overcoming fears, not in not having fear.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Oh my gosh this looks and sounds so amazing!! I want to do this someday. Paddling amongst gators? So cool!!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Your pictures are amazing! It's so cool you did this. I would've loved to have kayaked around too!

Barb Brookbank said...

What incredible creatures that live around you! I myself don't know if I could have got into a kayak to view an alligator!! That egret is absolutely beautiful!

Shug said...

I am so proud of you! This certainly looks like a fun adventure and something that one would have on their bucket list. Since I can't swim, I doubt seriously if I would ever do this. Especially not in gator waters. I see much kayaking in your future.... I see this as the beginning of some great adventures for you and Double D.
hugs girl..
shug

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

I think it's so neat that you and Double D are doing this stuff together. But seriously, girl. Kayaking for the first time in gator-infested water? Are you crazy? Never mind. I think I know the answer. :)

That's an absolutely stunning shot of the egret. Looking forward to more.

Merisi said...

You are one courageous lady, congratulations!
And what wonderful sights you got to see up close, and your egret image is simply out of this world beautiful! I need an iPhone! ;-)

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Yeahhhhhh Gail!!
I'm so proud of you and thrilled that you paddled!! Once you're in your comfort zone - isn't is relaxing and incredible, the amount of wildlife you have access with. Old Town is an excellent kayak. IF you are interested in buying one - I'd love to share what I know about them. The big thing is that the wider they are - the more steady. Old Town has several excellent recreational kayaks!! All of you look like pros out there!! :-}}}}

Stephanie said...

You are so brave to get in a kayak with alligator's swimming around you! :) That last photo is so pretty, Gail. Happy Monday and hugs to you!

Irma said...

The egret is absolutely beautiful!
So cool, rowing with gators in the lake.
Greetings Irma

Deanna said...

Congrats...see what a little deep breath and a dive into the unknown brings...beautiful shots. I especially love the egret and that plumage!!

TexWisGirl said...

gosh, the water looks so pretty and smooth! yay for you, girlie!!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful pictures.I give you credit for doing this. I can almost guarantee that I will NEVER do that.I'm too afraid of the water,when it gets deeper than my ankles.LOL

Hilary said...

Wow.. good for you. I've never kayaked and certainly never been in alligator populated water. I'm impressed. :)

And I'm going to have to assume that you're not all reckless.. and that the water was not at all deep because not a single one of the folks in the photos is wearing their PFD.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

Fun, yeah!!

I miss kayaking. But my sciatica just can't take it. It would cool down, and I'd go for a paddle...and bam, I'd be in pain for another six months. Sold my beautiful 16' last fall...and groan every time I drive near water.

Beth @ E. Lizard Breath Speaks said...

i am so glad you went - you go girl!! you had a blast. i had fun going with you. will you show more. hope so. what fun. i always have my zip lock bag with me to keep my camera dry & safe. & i would make them on top of my head if i need to -- to keep the out of the water. they are too important. what fun!! i hope you will go again. i love kayaking. so simple & fun!! easy too! ( :

Beth @ E. Lizard Breath Speaks said...

i forgot to ask - how do the alligators feel about people in kayaks near them? are they ok with it are they kind of mean? ( :

i had no problem being in a boat around them but then the tour guide told me about snakes falling in the boat ... what??! he said what??! you are kidding me. no the snakes are in the trees folks - no longer on the grounds - they can swing from the trees. next they will be flying too. ha. ha!!

Wally Jones said...

WOO-HOO! What a terrific experience!

Kayaking has so many positives: quiet approach to wildlife; can go place unreachable by foot or large boats; good exercise; and a superb way to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Nature!

Can't wait 'til your next report!

June Caedmon said...

What a fun adventure, Gail. So peaceful floating in the kayaks. Wonderful shots!

Camila Rafaela Felippi said...

It's not dangerous kayaking? I always think it amazing, but I'm so afraid. Of course where I live there isn't places like this, but there is kayak in the sea. Do you think can I go? No afraid? :b

Oh, wonderful bird! I love nature s2

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I am so excited for your new skill ... I hope I do half as well when we get to take ours out. I agree swimming with the gators would not be my idea of fun either. The heretic is beautiful.

Melissa said...

I love the water's level view that you've captured for us here! And WOW on the egret. That's breeding plumage? I hope you have more photos!!!

DeniseinVA said...

Oh wow, you are so brave, you actually conquered your fear and that is the bravest thing of all. Loved the photos!!!

p.s. thanks for visitng my under-wear post. With this cold winter I would have gladly worn those long-johns if I had any ;) I miss the washing on lines too!

Willow said...

Oh my gosh this just look like the greatest time ! :))

Renae of Simple Sequins said...

Oh good, Gail! Go get one. I love mine. but I haven't used it yet. I got it Wednesday night. Had a million things to do on Thursday and then headed to Huntsman on Friday morning and the rest is recuperation history. hahahahahaha.

These water photos of your are magnificent, my friend! That egrets feathers look like water, too. M'gosh!!

Debbie said...

ooohhhh it looks and sounds like a wonderful time!! I am so glad you went. The kayaks are so colorful and the view looks amazing!! The egret is a stunner!!

bailey-road.com said...

YOu're a brave soul! What great shots you can get from the kayak. The water looks beautiful.

eileeninmd said...

Good for you! Love the photos, especially the beautiful egret. Have a happy week!

Brian King said...

Glad you tried it! I've been kayaking for many years now, mainly to fish small streams. They're a great way to cover water solo and quietly.

A View From A Brown Dog said...

YAY you! I've been Kayaking once and it was really fun but you're right. My reoccurring thought was I hope I don't tip this thing over...

Pallavi Puri said...

What a fun day! The place looks so beautiful and relaxing! Glad you got over the nerves and enjoyed yourself. :)

ladyfi said...

What an amazing experience! And such lovely shots.

Linda R said...

How fun.. I would love to do something like this. I would be so scared of the gators though, I might just have a heart attack if I saw one. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Hugs~

eileeninmd said...

Gail, just stopping back to say thanks for linking up to the critter party.. Have a happy day!

Roan said...

Looks like a fun day. Love that last shot! Amazing!

Barbara said...

That last shot is so beautiful. You are dang good with your iphone! Paddling through the cypress trees does sound so relaxing and looks beautiful, but I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to kayak so close to alligators. You go, girl!

Tricia said...

You would never in a million years catch me doing this! You're brave!

Mitzi said...

You are far braver than I am my friend. I wouldn't dare get in such a small boat so close to the water with gators floating around. But the images are beautiful as always...glad you enjoyed the experience. hugs, xoxo http://simplysouthernblogger.com/in-the-quiet-moments/

catskillblogger said...

Fun! I've never been kayacking but it looks like a lot of fun.