Exploring the Mangrove Islands
Fred Howard Park is a favorite of mine to paddleboard from. There are a lot of different areas to explore depending on which direction you decide to go in. Last weekend we decided to take off straight out and up towards a bunch of mangrove islands that we couldn’t see from where we were but knew where there thanks to Google maps.
We basically paddled from the dinosaur’s hand to right over his head.[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m14!1m12!1m3!1d15918.220140786427!2d-82.79648038664035!3d28.160813889380886!2m3!1f0!2f0!3f0!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!5e1!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1468791648190&w=600&h=450]
Mangrove islands are a lot of fun to paddle around because they are full of birds, schools of fish, and usually quite a few rays as well.
The one thing they don’t often have is a place to stop and walk around. Mangroves tend to make a place a bit unfriendly to walk. Those are basically sharp sticks growing up all over the open ground. Even if it wasn’t horrible karma to go through there breaking everything, ouch. Beautiful though.
As a result I was kind of excited (like a 5 year old is kind of excited to see a bunny) when I saw this:
Those are real, actual not mangrove trees towering over the mangroves. Definitely worth investigating. We paddled almost all the way around the island before finding a small beach. And some fellow paddlers.
There was a nice sized clearing of sand and even a patio table and old grill someone had brought in. Of course there was also the mandatory ‘people have partied here and left their shit behind’ trash but it seems that is everywhere, regardless of how remote a place may seem. There was even a used-to-be-nice huge tent tangled in the trees. I get the feeling that wasn’t put there on purpose.
The people we ran into were pretty cool and said there’s another island close by that someone had actually built a bar on. Sounds like a place we’ll have to find!
We just bought kayaks! I’ve been checking out all the places to launch them from along the 19 area.
I love kayaking, you are going to have so much fun! Lots of places to put in around the Tarpon Springs and Tampa areas.