Friday, March 20, 2015

End of the Road?

If you were in a kayak and saw this mass of Red Mangroves, would you think you were at the end of your trip?
End of the road?
NO - it’s just the beginning.
The refuge has some really nice kayaks that are available for our use.  We have taken them out several times.  This morning’s trip was through a mangrove tunnel. 

The entrance is well hidden.  Our first time into the tunnel was with a group. We wanted to return by ourselves so that we could spend as much time as we wanted “on the other side.”
 Inside the tunnel.
The tunnel is about 1/8 mile long with lots of turns and low-hanging trees:
Mark making a turn.
It’s pretty amazing - but wait - it gets even better.  At the end of the tunnel is a truly beautiful spot with lots of birds, fish, jelly fish, crabs, and even Key deer.
 The end of the tunnel.

Teri emerging from the tunnel.
We got closer looks at the Great White Heron, and saw some Key Deer wading in the water. Red Mangrove leaves are a major food item for them, and you've got to get wet to reach them!
Great White Heron
Key Deer wading

We found our first geocache by kayak:
Geocache hanging in a Red Mangrove.
The Mangrove tunnel is the only way in and out of this amazing spot.  We were the only people here.  It was wonderful.
We saw hundreds of Cassiopea Jellyfish, also known as Upside-Down Jellyfish, they live on the bottom and are usually upside down. The first time we saw them we thought they were some type of algae, but if you watch closely or find one "tipped" you can see them pulsating.
Looks like a plant, right?
Cassiopea Jellyfish on it's side
We also saw this pair of crabs, concentrating on making more crabs. We let them be...

After about an hour in the small lagoon, we decided it was time to head back. Can you find your way out?
Look just to the left of that Snowy Egret, that’s the entrance/exit.

On our way out we encountered this White Ibis. They are really getting bright with their breeding color. 
White Ibis
Back through the tunnel and out into the Gulf of Mexico:
 Tide is coming in as we are going out.
The Gulf was calm this morning.

Teri & Mark


  1. Interesting paddle, but where are your life jackets? :)

  2. Life Jacket are safely stowed in one of the kayak storage compartments. Not easy to get to, but I don't think that we were ever in more than about 3' of water!

  3. I'd have to tie some trail marking tape on branches so I could find my way back.... congratulations on finding that cache... bet not too many folks are so lucky!

  4. Wow, a beautiful place to spend the afternoon.