If it’s your first time, you may not know what to expect on a guided kayak trip, so, hopefully, my experience will provide some insight. The first thing to consider is that there are things you can expect, like the services of a friendly and knowledgeable professional guide. Second, you never know what to expect regarding weather and wildlife, so be prepared and enjoy your trip.
My First Question Was: How common is it to see dolphins and manatees on a kayak trip to the Thousand Islands?
Our Guide Cameron Responded: Although it is common to see dolphins, manatees, great blue heron, osprey, and other wildlife, every tour is different. He told us on some tours, you may see all of these animals and even some that will surprise you. On others, he informed us, you may not see any dolphins or manatees.
We Appreciated Cameron’s Honesty
Our tour guide was Cameron, who was very honest and knowledgeable. He told us some cool facts about the area and the wildlife we may encounter during our kayak trip to the mangrove tunnels in the Banana River Thousand Islands area.
Meet Our Kayak Tour Guide Cameron
First Things First – Getting Ready to Kayak
There were a few things we needed to do before our kayak trip. Cameron walked us through everything step by step.
- Everyone had to fill out some paperwork, which went very quickly.
- We were given the opportunity to use the bathroom because unsurprisingly there are no bathrooms in the middle of the Banana River.
- Cameron offered everyone a bottle of water and recommended that we stay hydrated.
- We were provided with life jackets, a quick safety brief, and paddling instructions.
Cameron also advised us to consider applying mosquito repellent and sunscreen. This information was provided on the website too, and most of us came prepared. However, he did offer repellent to anyone who wanted some.
Personally, I had no problem with mosquitos that day, but the sun in Florida is strong, so I would definitely recommend wearing a hat and long sleeves, or plenty of sunscreen.
Preparing for Our Guided Kayak Trip
Kayak Dock at the Departure Location for Our Trip
We Practice Paddling Our Kayaks
Approaching a Great Blue Heron
Many Kayak Tour Groups Were Out That Day
Exploring the Mangrove Tunnels
The Thousand Islands area of the Banana River Lagoon is a very popular location for kayak trips, and there were many tour groups out that day. We passed four kayak tour groups on our way through the mangrove tunnels. On two occasions, we had to move to the side in an open area to allow another group to pass.
Pictures of Our Kayak Tour Group Paddling Through the Mangrove Tunnels
The mangrove tunnels are full of life, and Cameron told us that he has seen many animals there you would not expect to see in the middle of the Banana River. He said he has seen foxes, coyotes, and other animals in the mangrove tunnels.
Making Our Way Through the Mangrove Tunnels
The Mangrove Tunnels Are Very Dense
Cameron Spots a Manatee on Our Way Back
Cameron has great eyes. On our way back to the Cocoa Beach Country Club, he spotted a manatee underwater. He told us you could see a round-shaped ripple on the surface of the water when a manatee was swimming in shallow water. He was right, of course, and you can see the manatee we encountered in the pictures below.
Cameron Spotted a Manatee on Our Way Back
You Can See the Huge Tail Under the Water
Tour Member Pointing at the Manatee
The Manatee is Very Close to Our Kayak
I Cannot Wait to Go Again, and Hopefully, I Will Get Even Better Pictures
I enjoyed taking pictures of the Banana River and Thousand Islands during my guided kayak trip. I got a lot of good pictures and some videos too. It’s kinda hard to take pictures while kayaking, but Cameron and the other tour members never complained about me slowing the trip, and of course, I tried to be respectful of the other members time.
Returning to the Launch Point at Cocoa Beach Country Club
A Wonderful Kayak Trip in Cocoa Beach
I had a wonderful time, and I believe the rest of the group did too. I was a little disappointed o the way back because we had not seen any dolphins or manatees, but luck was with us, and Cameron spotted a manatee on the return trip. It was a fitting end to a fantastic tour of the Thousand Islands.
So, if you are still wondering what to expect on a guided kayak trip, I would say be ready for just about anything. Osprey flying overhead, great blue heron perched on a sign, fish jumping, manatee, and many other boaters and kayakers out having a good time on the Banana River.