Paddling Around Florida

Interesting project:

Note section: "Building a Kayak" shows boxes arriving from CLC and construction of two Chesapeakes. The boats are then paddled all the way around the state of Florida during hurricane season! Verrry daingerous!!!!


Ogata (eric)

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RE: Paddling Around Florida

Eric,  This is Matt Keene.  Thanks for posting about this.  The 17LTs worked out great for the paddling portion of our trip (especially after adding rudders!).  I was pretty proud and happy with the way they turned out, and excited that after a little fiberglass repair, sanding, and some new varnish they'll look practically brand new again.  Although, right now they look like they've been on the water for three and a half months, and I kinda like that look... 

The coolest thing was that during the paddle across Florida Bay through the everglades (which, I might add, involved some pretty sketchy weather conditions with Hurricane Paloma), I was able to store 8 and a half days worth of water (32 liters), as well as all my food, camping gear, snorkeling gear, and fishing gear, inside my kayak!  I didn't have to strap anything down on top which was incredible.  

 Thanks again.



RE: Paddling Around Florida

Hi Matt,

I was looking at some of your pics thinking, hey, I've got a 17LT. Hope one day I might have the time to take her on such a worthy journey. Keys, Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands must be amazing paddling. What were some of the areas that you found the most interesting and kayak friendly?

Bon voyage, and stay safe.


Ogata (eric)

RE: Paddling Around Florida


For anyone who hasn't paddled throughout Florida, it contains a lot of unique ecosystems.  You've got the everglades, the keys, mangrove lagoons, crystal clear spring-fed rivers, marsh grass, and pine habitats.  For me, each ecosystem had its own treasures, and I want to go explore every one a little further.

I really enjoyed the everglades.  I paddled along the gulf (gulf of mexico and florida bay) route, which is around 100 miles between resupply points.  I never imagined the everglades being what I saw.  Unspoiled beaches, white sand teeming with perfect shells, palm trees, and wildlife.  I saw wild deer, alligators, crocodiles, tons of dolphins and sharks, osprey, and eagles.  It was remote, and my teammate and I didn't see another person for almost five days, and then that was a solo kayaker.  We had a nice breeze, which kept the bugs away.  I'd like to do a loop paddle in the next year or two, paddling through the wilderness waterway (the interior everglades) and then looping back along the gulf.  It would be around 225 miles. 

The keys weren't nearly as remote, but if you are looking for crystal clear waters to paddle, fish, snorkel, dive, play... and have lodging and restaurant opportunities, that's a great place to go.  You can paddle on either the atlantic or the florida bay side, offering a complete change in habitat.  The Florida Bay has small mangrove islands, seagrass, and relatively calmer waters, while the atlantic, well, it's the atlantic, so there's more exposure and deeper water. 

Along the Southwest coast,  there's the Great Calusa Blueway, which is a collection of paddling trails that are well-marked, and offer a mix of camping options as well as lodging options.  The people who have been working on the Blueway have done a great job at making a trail that is very paddler-friendly.  You are almost guaranteed to see great game fish- redfish, and snook.

Hope that gives you a little info.  I'm hiking now, on my way back to key west with Jodi, my partner, so computer time is not always available.  So, if there's a delay between responses, that's why!



RE: Paddling Around Florida

Hi Mark,

Hadn't heard of the Great Calusa Blueway. Have to take a look into that. My parents live in Treasure Island near St. Pete and have good direct access to the water at John's Pass. Nice place to paddle around but of course very urban environment there. Hope to get down there soon with a couple of CLC boats. I'd like to drive down towards Sanibel, Naples and Chokoloskee to poke around a little if I get a chance. But priority is to visit with the parental units so don't know how much time I'll have. Thanks for the info, really hope I get a chance to take a closer look at some of the wilder areas of Southwest Florida from a kayak one of these days.


Ogata (eric)

RE: Paddling Around Florida

Um, brain-lock,

>> Hi Mark,

Hi Matt!

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