A hot and beautiful day on the boat took us to a remote river island, a stop in the ocean, and then to Ponce Inlet.
We chose a hot, sunny day to take a much needed boat ride. It had been a while. But, this day was very hot with a heat index over 100. The water temperature was around 87 and felt very nice, but not very refreshing.
The first stop was a little place along the Indian River. We’ve been here before. In fact it is the place I saw my first and only spider crab.
I did some beach exploring and took photos of what I found. See the shells, a live crown conch, and one feather, in the slideshow below. Every shell, except the crown, had a hermit crab inside.
Took a trip to Ponce Inlet
We don’t often boat up to Ponce Inlet, but my son likes to take our 18 foot flats boat out into the ocean! It is not an ocean-going vessel and is made for shallow backwaters, so I’m never happy about this. We only go just off the end of the inlet and only when it is calm.
The ocean water is a pretty deep blue, and we just sat and enjoyed floating. The photos make it look very calm, and it was, but there were swells. It was hot, as I have mentioned, but swimming in the ocean from the boat, is out of the question. There is no way to get back onboard.
After our quick ocean trip, we went back inshore and followed the channel around by the lighthouse and ended up at a sandbar.
Anchored at a Sandbar by Ponce Inlet
These sandbars by the inlet are party places and fill up on the weekends. A deeper channel runs along behind the shallow area and it’s how we get to the island. The sandbar has some calm, clear, pools (and I took a dip) but the water behind the boat is running with the tide. A swim in the channel is nice too because it’s deep and at certain times, the water here can be very beautiful. This is a great place to take the kids, and everyone brings their dogs! We met up with some friends here a while ago.
We had a nice day and managed to keep cool between dips in the water and the wind from traveling. Luckily we get to go boating during the week so there are no crowds.
My first time out on the Sea Eagle inflatable kayak was a success even thought the weather did not cooperate.
For a while now I’ve been thinking about investing in an inflatable kayak. I’ve owned two regular kayaks for years, but rarely use them simply because I have no way to get them to the water. Now that we have begun camping, I plan to take the inflatable on camping trips.
The Sea Eagle brand gets really great reviews and I knew I wanted a somewhat streamlined kayak. They tend to go faster and straighter than short, stubby kayaks. After watching a good video review at YouTube, I was convinced, and bought one.
On this page I will talk about blowing it up, taking it for a ride, and drying it, deflating it and putting it away.
Blowing It Up
It was difficult to find a good video about inflating this kayak. Also, it was mostly men doing the inflating, so maybe that is why they spoke as if it wasn’t too difficult…!
I was tired out before the first (of three) sections were pumped up! Okay. I am a woman in her sixties, so take that into consideration. I’m not the strongest old lady either, I’ll admit. Each side, and the bottom, needs to be pumped up to around 12 PSI. It tired me out before I was a third of the way done. My son helped me finish!
Because it was a chore to inflate, the kayak remained inflated and stored on the porch for a few days until the weather was nice enough to go out.
Out on The Water
In the photo below I am out on the Indian River on the East coast of Florida. That is my son on his paddle board (he’s sitting down) and we are both getting used to our new water toys.
In the photo above you can see the three valve areas for inflating.
Going For a Paddle
It is impossible to tell in these photos, but it was extremely windy the day we went paddling. We didn’t stay out long, and didn’t go far. My son was trying out his new SUP. He did not stand, but sat in an inflatable seat. His SUP brand is a BOTE.
The boat ramp is very close to our house, and the launch area was empty because it was not a good boating day. We threw the paddle board and kayak into the back of the truck and drove to the beach ramp.
Once there, all I did was add the seat and grab the paddle. The kayak seat clips in with four straps. I did not use the extra fin that can be attached to the bottom. The wind was blowing us in toward shore and I didn’t want to take the chance of snapping the fin off.
We were on the Indian River, which is saltwater. The water was around 70 degrees, so not very warm for us! The water was a little choppy from the wind, and a few boats went by to cause some small waves.
I found the kayak to be pretty stable, but less so than my normal, plastic kayaks. It might feel different using the fin. I was able to paddle around just fine and went across to the sand bar and back with no problem. One of my foot pegs kept coming out for some reason.
My life jacket has a zipper pocket where I kept my phone and took these photos, but because the wind pushed me and spun me so easily, I didn’t get many pictures.
No one fell off, and nobody sank – so good times!
After the Ride There is Work to Be Done
Because I ride in saltwater, the kayak needed to be rinsed well. That is not a problem, but drying it was a real pain in the neck. Because of the Florida humidity, nothing dries well here. I let it air dry for a while and then wiped the whole thing with a big towel. But reaching under, and getting into the front to dry it was tough. Once it was folded up and in the bag, water actually dripped out.
So, as you can see in my photos below, I struggled to get it into the storage bag. But I forgot to loosen up the outside strap!
I only plan to use this kayak when we travel in the camper. I like to camp near water. Our recent trip was to the O’Leno Campground where there was a river. Also, the famous Ichetucknee Springs was close by. This would have been a great place to take the kayak. When we camp, we can bring the kayak along in the back of the truck. My son bought a good pump to inflate our toys easier and he also has a thing that suctions out the air. I have not tried either of those, but they will both help.
I am happy with the kayak purchase. It paddled well, and was stable enough. Once I have the fin on, it should be even better.
Overall, it is a bit of a pain to blow up, rinse and dry, deflate, and fold. But it is portable, so it’s what I need. The quality seems to be very good and hopefully it will last a long time.
If you’d like to view some videos about kayaking, I watched Kayak Cliff. He covered a lot more than most of the other videos I watched.
Today we went out on the boat. It’s been a while since we’ve gone out because the weather has cooled off. We weren’t out for long, and stopped at some favorite beaches because the tide was out. There wasn’t much to see, and then … there it was! A living horse conch. The bright orange…
Many people dream of having a beach all to themselves. Because we have a boat, we often get to be on deserted beaches. But you can find deserted, and semi-deserted beaches in Florida, at certain times. It also helps if you have a boat with a low draft. These photos are just a few from…
Photos taken while boating and beach-combing in Mosquito Lagoon on the east coast of Florida.
We seldom take our boat down to Mosquito Lagoon even though that is suppose to be the place to fish. Our boat is a flats boat which means it is meant to traverse shallow water. It handles waves okay, but not large waves or choppy water.
Mosquito Lagoon – the wide open part – is about a 20 minute trip by boat for us and if there is wind kicking up waves once we get there, it is not a comfortable ride. If we happen to hit beautiful, glassy water, we can keep going south to the cut through at Haulover Canal. That takes us through to the other side of the lagoon.
This is where we went the day I took these photos.
The Lagoon is a place for fishermen. It is not a place to go to beach-comb. There are islands along that area, heading south, which are pretty nice and can be used for camping. But, we rode way down that way once only to find that all the islands were inhabited by people.
Mosquito Lagoon is a huge area that looks more like a giant lake. I’d like to explore it more, but when we are far from home, and if the weather changes, we could get in trouble.
We’ve tried using the boat ramps on Merritt Island, but they are not the greatest. And the ramp at Haulover Canal is small and crowded.
When I am out walking a beach or shallow water area, I am mostly searching for seashells and sea life to photograph for this blog. Sometimes I end up with many more photos than I will use.
Here I am sharing some photos that may have been overlooked from the trip.
One thing about this (rather creepy) area where I walked was the fact that there were many, many dead horseshoe crabs. They were scattered over the beach sand and all throughout the water. Later I read that raccoons will eat them, although this page about horseshoe crabs does not mention raccoons as predators. It does mention alligators. This water can have gators (I found a skull), which adds to the creepiness.
Horseshoe crabs leave behind an exoskeleton when they molt. If they get turned upside down they may die. Grab them by the big part of the shell, not the tail, and turn them over. They are harmless.
I walked along this shallow water area and around the corner where the water got creepy. The brown became darker until it was nearly black. I did not venture neat that water.
I found a lot of living sea snails and no hermit crabs. My son did some fishing but caught nothing. We will make the trip back one day.