Kayaking Through the Mangrove Tunnel of Doom

Banana River Kayaking

It was the perfect day to earn our Kayaking Certificate of Achievement. The weather at Cocoa Beach in March is ideal for kayaking and seeing wildlife. Taliah and her mother, Carmen, grandmother, Janice, and I celebrated Taliah’s twelfth birthday with a manatee-dolphin party in the mangroves of the Banana River.

Banana River Kayaking

We paddled along the Banana River with our guide on a balmy 70-degree day hoping to catch a glimpse of some dolphins out fishing. Our guide first spotted a lazy manatee cruising along the canal through a housing area hoping to find some friendly humans.

Meeting Mr. Man-T

Manatees have a terrible habit of approaching boats and befriending people even if the people come via propeller boats. Their backs bear the scars of such friendships.

Today, Mr. Man-T discovered a kindred spirit in Taliah. When she tickled the water with her fingers, he maneuvered himself in place saddling up to her kayak. Somehow he knew she would pet him. You can see his white propeller scars on his back to the right of Taliah’s hand.

If Carmen moved the boat, Mr. Man-T moved too. Finally, our guide had to tear us away from Mr. Man-T to get into the open waters to see dolphins like the ads promised.

Following the Private-Eye Birds

These birds did not read their pelican briefs and led us astray on our first quest to see dolphins. But other birds ran their operation with more precision. Soon we spotted two dolphins on a fishing expedition.

Banana River Kayaking

The result was that during our two-hour tour, we saw the most dolphins our guide had spotted in his thirty years of dolphin tours. Once we got on the high seas, there were many more dolphins, but they were farther away and harder to photograph.

While that may be a slight exaggeration, I won’t apologize because he had his “This was the best show in thirty years” attitude, even if it was just an attitude.

Every time he spotted a group of birds sitting on the dock inspecting the water below his enthusiasm exploded. He would lead us through the water towards the next school of dolphins. We paddled towards them as quickly as we could gliding in gentle circles and S-curves through the water.

Entering the Mangrove Tunnel of Doom

Nearing the two-hour mark, our guide thought he could lose us in the Tunnel. Leading us in single file, we battled the barnacle-covered mangroves slathered with barnacles. In spite of a few false starts and nearly losing a paddle or two to the aggressive water trees, we emerged unscathed.

Exiting the Banana River

By the end of the second hour, my wrists hurt, but my heart was full. Our guide started speeding towards our landing spot just as the sky let loose of the future waters of Banana River.

Banana River Kayaking

Weighed down by all the water, it was all I could do to emerge ungracefully from the kayak without going for a swim in the brackish water. Carmen tried to lend me a hand. After nearly pulling her in, I decided to turn and push myself out using the boat as a solid surface. (That’s funny, by the way!)

No picture (hahaha).

By that time it did not matter how wet I got. If the river below hadn’t soaked me, the river above our heads did an excellent job.

Banana River Kayaking

What fabulous activities on one of your trips gave you the thrill of a lifetime?

Though this isn’t a walk, it is a journey. For more walks/journeys check out:


15 responses to “Kayaking Through the Mangrove Tunnel of Doom”

  1. Paige Hardesty Avatar

    I want to do this while in Cocoa Beach so badly! I’ve heard amazing things. What guide company did you use?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jo’s Monday walk : Furnazinhas | restlessjo Avatar

    […] Thrill of a Lifetime: How Novice Kayakers Navigate the Mangrove Tunnel of Doom […]

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  3. macjam47 Avatar

    What a fun time you had! Quite the adventurer. ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha Avatar

      It was great. We will have an adventure one day, I’ll bet!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Marsha Avatar

          😍😍😍

          Like

  4. Norah Avatar

    I’m so pleased you escaped the Mangrove Tunnel of Doom. What an amazing adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Thanks, Norah. It was so much fun, and surprisingly none of us were sore the next day. 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Norah Avatar

        That’s even better than, Marsha. What a great adventure. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Marsha Avatar

          😍😍😍

          Like

  5. Ralph Avatar

    Wow ! You are quite a Indiana Jones, aren’t you MVBFM ? 🙂💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha Avatar

      It’s my Hoosier roots, MFR. I’m in Delaware now visiting my mom’s cousin. He’s 93, and today we are visiting the eye doctor. So I’ve gone from adventurous to dutiful. 😍😍😍😘

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Cee Neuner Avatar

    What a wonderful and fun post. Thanks Marsha. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha Avatar

      Glad you enjoyed it, Cee. It was great fun. 🤗

      Like

  7. restlessjo Avatar

    Oh, heavens! I’d be rubbish at this! 🙂 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Marsha. Belated Happy Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

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