Paddling report

Posted by George K on Jan 9, 2007

In the absence of Robert N(ot here) Pruden's paddling reports I will attempt to give one myself. Warning: I am nowhere near the master of words that Mr. Pruden is. Continue at your own risk.

Sunday I took a friend of mine for his first paddle in a kayak. The weather was perfect - 80 degrees, not a cloud in the skies, wind was up a bit at 20 knots. All you guys north of Florida, eat your hearts out! Sorry. I do hate to gloat. Anyway, I decided to take him to a place in Cocoa Beach called the Thousand Islands. I haven't counted them all but they may be right. It's a great place to paddle on a windy day as the islands offer much wind protection. We haven't had rain for a while so the water was clear to about 8 feet. There are numerous dolphins in the intercoastal and everybody I take out gets the same speach. "You will see a lot of 'em but you won't be able to get close to 'em". I have been made a liar.

We paddled out of one canal into the main channel when a dolphin came up about 50' off the side of my buddy's boat. I told him I had seen one, he asked where, and about the time I was answering him it popped up about 10' off his bow. It was a jeuvenile, about 6' long. He seemed to be as interested in us as we were with him. He started swimming all around our boats, within a few feet at times. Knowing that dolphins like to ride bow waves on ships I decided to see what he'd do with a kayak. I took off as fast as I can paddle (I was in my WR 18, pretty fast boat) and looked back. He took off after me, caught up in a few flicks of his tail, and started doing barrell rolls just a few feet under my boat, going to either side, and occasionally just swimming on his back looking up at me. I stopped, turned around and paddled back to my buddy with my new friend just under me the whole way, laughing hysterically. I told my buddy to give it a try and he had the same results. We played with him, or should I say he played with us, for about an hour. Occasionally he would take off after a fish and once came right up to us with his catch, stuck his head out of the water so we could see it, then disappeared underwater to finish his meal.

I grew up on the water in Florida, always sailing, water skiing, surfing, whatever, and have never had an experience like that. As soon as I can I'll take my wife to the same place and see if we can find the little guy again.

And Robert, if you should read this, my apologies. I might be able to build a boat but I sure can't write about it!!

George K