Ah…the picturesque 3 mile mark of a 4 mile kayak trip at Weedon Island, Saint Petersburg, FL. Peaceful, calming, relaxing, right? It was all of the above. However, it was also one of the most strenuous, energy zapping, mind-over-matter activities I’ve done to date. I know you’re thinking, it’s just kayaking…big deal! For me, a self professed Diva of sorts, it is a VERY big deal.
Before I get into the story behind this postcard worthy picture, let me set the stage for you. I’m a single mom in my early thirties. I’m not in the best shape I could be in but I’m pretty active. I have a propensity for adventures, new and unique experiences, theme parks, and food. I’m also an avid Harry Potter fan which contributes to some of the adventures (or misadventures) I find myself in. I like being outdoors in nature and I absolutely love being anywhere near water of some kind. However, I’m also a diva of sorts: Sorority girl, shoe shopping, outlet bargain hunting, jewelry loving, girly girl. You could say I’m a walking contradiction. Mesh all of these facets of my esoteric personality together and it makes for some pretty entertaining adventures. Through sharing my experiences in this blog, I hope to inspire people to get up, get out, and see this beautiful world we live in. If this girl can do it so can you!
Labor Day weekend I convinced my boyfriend and teenage son to rent kayaks at a spot I had come across online. On previous kayaking trips I had only done a tandem kayak (2 people). Subsequently this also meant there was someone else doing the heavy rowing work. However on this trip they only had singles so I had no choice but to put my big girl panties on and brave it solo. I completely underestimated just how much work it would be to do all the rowing by myself.
The first 3 miles weren’t so bad. It was everything the website said it would be. There were jumping fish, a cool breeze, and we were floating along with the current. We saw a dolphin playing right next to the kayak and all kinds of birds. Then we entered the mangrove tunnels and it was very pretty and swarming with fiddler crabs. The thing about mangrove tunnels is that it’s exactly what the title suggests; it’s a tunnel. It was a really tight squeeze in parts and I got my oar stuck quite a few times. At one point I decided it would be easier to row with my hands instead of the oar because it was so narrow. I’m certain I looked ridiculous but hey, it worked! There was one stretch where we observed a raccoon on the banks of the mangroves breaking open a shell. We finally made it into the open bay you see in the pic and here we saw the 3 mile marker of the kayak trail. But while we paused to relax, the wind changed directions on us and we were rowing directly against the wind as we headed back to the put-in spot. I rowed and rowed and rowed and it honestly felt like I would never make it. If I could have waded through the water pulling the kayak behind me it may have been easier. The last mile of the trail felt like every bit of a marathon race. I made it back to base camp and literally collapsed on the beach bench. It took about 3 or 4 days for my poor arms to recover but it was a good burn. It was the kind of pain you relish because it’s your badge of honor after completing a task that is worthy of puffing up your chest.
1. I really need to do more arm and upper body strength activities. My arms were Jell-o!
2. Raccoons eat crabs too.
3. It’s never a good idea to steer your kayak over an oyster bed. (woops!)
Check back next time to read about our shark encounter at Disney World.
Looking to go and explore Weedon Island? Check out the links below:
- Weedon Island – http://www.weedonislandpreserve.org/
- Sweetwater Kayaks – http://www.sweetwaterkayaks.com/rentals.html