Saturday, November 21, 2015

10,000 Islands

We were camped on Chokoloskee Island a couple of weeks ago to do some kayaking and photography.  This area has thousands of mangrove islands called the Ten Thousand Islands.  Being fairly new to Florida we were excited to explore a new region of the state.  As always when venturing out into a new wilderness area, we gather as much useful information as we can from the local people to help us with our plans.  This first thing we were told is that the tides are very strong in this area, and it was suggested  that we should paddle out with the out going tide and back with the incoming tide.   This approach worked very well and gave us plenty of time out on the water.  As we wandered around the various island it was easy to see we could get lost very quickly.  Everything looked the same so we tried to identify landmarks to remember to guide us back in the direction we needed to go on our return trip.  When I am photographing I take a lot of time composing and setting up may camera gear.   My wife Linda, who often travels with me on these trips, will explore around by herself when I am involved with photography.  I beached my kayak on a little sand bar and Linda paddled around the end of the island as I climbed in among the mangrove trees is search of a photograph.  After about thirty minutes of photographing I returned to my kayak to see it was gone.  I didn't realize the tide had come up and the water had covered the little beach area where my kayak was sitting.  Looking out I could see it about a thousand feet from shore and I was a little startled because Linda was nowhere in sight.  I started wading out and soon realized the water wasn't more than waist deep so I was able to retrieve my kayak with no problem.  If the wind was blowing and I was out there by myself it might have been a different story.  From now on I will always secure my boat with a rope when kayaking where there is a tide.  I have learned over the years that a trip turns into an adventure when something goes wrong. 

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