A few weeks ago I was looking around meetup.com for groups that did outdoorsy stuff in my area and I came across a few, most of which seemed to do a lot of kayaking. I had always wanted to try kayaking but didn’t know where to start, plus I thought it was hard to keep your balance, etc, so I never had. I joined one of those groups and asked a few questions, including what level of fitness was required for recreational kayaking and how difficult it was. The answers were “very little” and “easy as long as there isn’t a strong wind.” Seeing that I could actually do it, I immediately became obsessed with kayaking. In case you don’t know, I am what is called a “serial hobbyist” and this kayaking thing proved it once more. Anyhow, I signed up for a kayaking meet up and then all I could think about was kayaks. I looked at pictures of kayak trips, I looked at journals of kayak trips, I looked for reviews of kayaking sites and launches in my area, I looked up the terms related to kayaking, I even looked up kayaks to buy and I already knew which one I wanted. I also already knew that I wanted to undertake a multi-day kayak camping trip around the Everglades and camp at the chickees. All of this without ever so much as having set foot in a kayak. Yeah, that’s me.
So, the day of the kayaking meet up was close and the weather forecast said it would be very windy in Islamorada, where we were going. I was starting to grow nervous; I have been in small ships in rough weather and it’s not fun, I imagined it’d only be worse in a kayak. The day finally arrived and since I had already paid, I decided to take the hour-long drive to Islamorada in the Florida Keys and see what happened. I got there and there was no wind. Thank goodness! I would have been seriously heartbroken if we’d had to cancel. I was given the option of kayaking tandem with someone who was much more experienced or kayaking in my own kayak, both safe but with the former requiring less effort. I chose the latter because I felt it would give me the real kayaking experience, plus there was another newbie who seemed to need a hand to hold much more than I did. I am not fearless, but I am not afraid either.
So, we got on our kayaks at Robbie’s Marina and started paddling towards Indian Key, which is just under a mile northeast of the Marina. We paddled at a leisurely pace and it took us about half an hour to get there. We missed the designated kayak landing and landed somewhere else instead, and it was very mucky. Eventually we did find the proper landing, left the kayaks there, and went around the very small island. Indian Key is home to the Indian Key State Historic Site, which contains ruins of a 19th century town that existed there. The advertised history of the island, if you will, is interesting, but I can see that it’s very much sugarcoated. I am much more interested in reading the gritty, and true, history of this island and its inhabitants. I don’t know much, but what I do know sounds like one heck of a story!
After the walk, we paddled back to Robbie’s and had a huge lunch. The whole place smelled deliciously of fried fish, although that is not what we ate. The marina offers to cook your catch, and it has an area, complete with hungry pelicans as garbage disposals, for the cleaning of said catch. Too bad we didn’t fish.
After all was said and done, I was SO ready for some more padding, but alas, it was over. I loved the experience, I loved the peacefulness and tranquility of the sea, even with the noise of the occasional powerboat. I can’t wait to do it again!