Kayaking the Ten Thousand Islands

I was back in the Everglades this week kayaking in Rookery Bay, part of the Ten Thousand Islands ecosystem. See the yellow box in the map to the right.

Here's how the web site describes it:

Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the gulf coast
of Florida, the Rookery Bay Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America.
An amazing world exists within the 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters of Rookery Bay. Where rivers and streams meet the sea, a unique habitat is formed. A myriad of wildlife, including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals, thrive in the estuarine environment and surrounding upland hammocks and scrub found within the Reserve.

Since Rookery Bay is used as a national research and monitoring center for marine life and birds, it's a great place to go paddleing and bird-watching.

I joined a group kayak tour with Eco-Quest Nature Tours, based in Naples. It was one of those incredible blue-sky days with nary a cloud in the sky, water like glass and temps hovering around 74. Since it's winter, there were no mosquitoes ... it was a picture-perfect day, as you can see from my photos.

If you want an up close and personal kayak adventure in Rookery Bay, contact Wendell Vaught at Eco-Quest Nature Tours. Wendell is a master naturalist and excellent tour guide, who provides interesting commentary on the nature, wildlife and ecosystem of the area. Eco-Quest Nature Tours will also customize any kind of Everglades adventure you like including hiking, bird-watching and swamp walks. Find them at http://www.ecoquestnaturetours.com/
or (239) 298-6750.