Wednesday, August 5, 2015

2004 Kayaking Florida's Canaveral National Seashore with Sierra Club

Kayaking Florida's Canaveral National Seashore was a Sierra Club Outing.   Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge were set aside in the 1950s as a buffer zone for nearby NASA launch areas. Over 1000 species of plants and 310 species of birds have been recorded here including 14 endangered or threatened species. The National Seashore protects 24 miles of seashore, the longest protected stretch on the entire east coast.

Three evenings we returned to our Orange Island campsite at sunset and were treated to views such as this on Mosquito Lagoon. 

As at most National Parks, all campsites were assigned, and we were at "Homestead." Although bugs were not a problem while paddling, the no-see-ums were bothersome on the island campground when we were there in mid-March, so four of our participants wore "bug suits." Yes, Mosquito Lagoon was properly named!

Many of the islands within Canaveral National Seashore had man-made canals which we could explore when high tide allowed access. Here Laura, Lee, Rick, and Diana paddle and enjoy the scenery and abundant wildfowl. It was a daily occurrence to see pelicans, osprey, egrets, heron, ibis, vultures, moorhen, coots, grebes, wood storks, blue wing teal, cormorants, ducks, and many others. In addition, we viewed manatees in Haulover Canal, saw a few alligators, and most days we saw dolphins while paddling in the main channels.

In the photo below, Laura and Ricardo hike Castle Windy Trail. During our week, we also paddled Shipyard Island, Callalisa Creek, the Intracoastal Waterway, hiked Castle Windy Trail and New Smyrna Beach Dunes Park, spent two afternoons on the ocean beach, toured Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and toured Eldora House.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge has the best waterfowl viewing I've ever seen. Here'a a brief video I made of the Florida wildlife, most of which was filmed at Merritt.

Below is the group posing atop Turtle Mound, a 40 foot high midden made of discarded oyster shells by the Timucuan Indians during their 2000 years of occupation of this area. Once 80 feet high, the mound's shells (and those of many other mounds) were used as road fill or for Flagler's railroad as base for his rail line. Fortunately, this archeological treasure has been preserved.

front row (l to r): Ricardo, Rick, and Seth
back row: Lee, Greg (our leader), Diana, Sue, and Laura

Greg Pflug, our leader, offers numerous wonderful trips, in Florida, across the USA, and internationally, through his company, Adventures in Florida.

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