This morning I took a kayak tour of the Indian River around Pelican Island and the mangrove islands surrounding it. I had never kayaked before, but this offered a great opportunity to try something new and see the area from a different perspective. Disney offers a kayak tour on their activity sheet, but they are not offered every day and you do not see the activity sheet until you check in. Being the slightly obsessive planner that I am and knowing that I had a lot of things I wanted to do on my vacation, I decided to book my tour with Adventure Kayaking of Vero Beach (www.paddleflorida.com). From what I understand, the Disney tours are also operated by Adventure Kayaking, and the chief difference is that Disney arranges transportation to the put-in site if you book through them. Adventure Kayaking runs kayak tours of Indian River Lagoon from a variety of locations every day of the week and have been guiding tours for 17 years.
I met Steve and Rhonda at the put-in site just before 9:00 this morning for a three hour tour of the lagoon. And the “three hour tour” reference did not escape me, believe me. As I said, I’d never kayaked, and I was a little nervous. However, I was also excited and ready to try it. Rhonda would be the guide for our small group (just me and Steve and Bonnie, a Massachussetts couple who are regular kayakers back home). Guide Steve was leading a different group that was heading out later. Rhonda fitted me with a kayak and gave me a quick lesson in paddling and entering/exiting the kayak safely. I eventually got the hang of getting into the kayak, but I need to work on my core strength quite a bit before I can easily get out of a kayak correctly. The kayaks have foot pedals that operate the rudder and once I got accustomed to the feel of the kayak, I felt very stable and comfortable.
Rhonda was an excellent guide. Not only did she give a lot of guidance to me as a beginning paddler and reassurance about the very shallow depth of most of our route, she provided a lot of great information about the wildlife and ecology of the lagoon. She has done a lot of research on the birds, fish, and plants of the area and was able to easily identify what we saw and heard as we paddled. From describing how ospreys dive for fish (which we got to see while she was describing it) to showing us the holes moon snails burn into mussel shells to encouraging us to sample the edible plant sea purslane (tasted like a salty snap pea), Rhonda was extremely well-informed and a great tour guide.
I would definitely take a kayak tour of the lagoon again.
I spent the rest of the day lounging on the beach and around the pool at the resort. I got some pretty weird and painful sunburns for my trouble. Always, always remember sunblock! Especially on the top of your feet! It being a Saturday, both the beach and the pool were very popular. Even so, it was not hard to stake out a spot on the beach or a lounge chair at the pool. I had dinner in Sebastian at a popular restaurant called Squid Lips and it was excellent!
After dinner, I came back to the hotel and joined a large number of the other guests in gazing at the supermoon as it rose in the night sky. It was huge and golden, and it reflected in a long, glittering strip over the ocean. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.