I am heading to the Keys in Feb. and haven’t had too much luck finding a great guide service in the keys. I am looking for full day trips in Sea Kayaks with a trip of more than a beginner tourist destinations. Can anyone reccommed a guide service for an avid paddler?
last year I used…
Crystal seas. http://www.crystalseas.com/florida/southern-florida.html
The new bride and I did a full day trip in the Great White Heron NWR. We were in high quality fiberglass touring boats (I forgot the brand) and werner paddles. We had a great guide too, name was Leo, we saw lots of wildlife.
Florida Bay Outfitters (FBO)
Great bunch of people can’t go wrong.
If you are an avid paddler…
and just looking for good day trips why not guide yourself.
Pick up a copy of "the Florida Keys Paddling Guide by Bill Keogh.
My wife and I do that each year and thoroughly enjoy it, plus it allows you the freedom to stay out longer or come in earlier, as well as being the master of your own fate.
We will probably bump into you down there in Feb.
the recommendation for crystalseas.com and of course my favorite paddle shop down here Florida Bay Outfitters in Key Largo.
I camped on an island in the E glades National park and met a group from Crystal Seas. I was impressed with the gear they had and also the great meals the guides were cooking up and how friendly they were. I am scheduling a trip this summer to the san juans with this group I was so impressed. They are not expensive for what you get.
AGREE WITH JACK-IF YOU HAVE SOME
paddling experience, do some research and DIY!
Research equates to
A] FLORIDA KEYS PADDLING BOOK(S)-Picking up -or checking out -a book on kayaking the Florida Keys is the starting point. There's about a dozen of them out there, all are useful, some are better than others for specifics;
B] INTERNET RESEARCH: Doing a little search/research on the net. Here's a short list to start-
Big Pine Key-Lower Keys
BIG PINE KAYAK ADVENTURES Inc.
Captain Bill Keogh has lived in the lower keys for more than two decades and has made his living on or in these waters as a naturalist guide, educator and professional photographer. He has been published in numerous books, magazines and publications throughout the world and co-produced the book written by Jeff Ripple on the natural history of the Florida keys. National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife fund, Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges, and many others have used his images.
Captain Bill Keogh's LATEST BOOK: "The Florida Keys Paddling Guide" is hot off the press. Learn about the natural history of the keys and details of launches and paddling routes from Key West to Key Largo. Biological line illustrations, photos by the author, a sea turtle guide, birding checklist, tide information and a ton of other informative tid-bits make this a diverse and handy little guide. Call the author (877-595-2925 or 305-872-7474) for a signed copy to be delivered to your door for only $22 including tax and shipping.
Big Pine Key – Lower Keys
Cudjoe Key – Lower Keys
(Depends -these folks are based in the NW -Washington State -and contract with locals -and apparently do a good job -but this is guided, not DIY)
C] LEARN LOCAL CONDITIONS:
1)IMPORTANT -GET THE WEATHER FORECAST: The local (Lower, or Middle, or Upper Keys) should be as individually consulted, as Keys weather, especially in spring and summer, and often in fall, and sometimes in winter (do we perceive a theme here?) can be rainy & stormy one day, sunny and fair the next. Note: you DO want the good days...
2)IMPORTANT -GET THE TIDE FORECAST: And just as importantly, tide tables should be consulted; the Keys are surrounded by flats and mangrove tunnels. Both are interesting places to paddle. Both can be trying at high or low tides: low tides on flats/shallows might leave you too little water to paddle (and it's not just to make it over a sandbar -it can be a strtch of hundreds of yards) and slogging through mucky yuck that can sometimes suck -your shoes off; high tides, OTOH, can raise water levels so you're into the ceiling on a mangrove tunnel. That's not quite as bad as a flats slog, unless there's a spider web up there and you're an arachiphobe... A great tide site is:
D] OTHER LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Talk to the locals, especially fishermen -back country & flats guys, especially, and speak with folks at marine stores, bait shops, and at the put-in. Look for the anglers and the "serious boaters" (not 23 people in a 15-footer, and not jetski types) if you can find them, LOL!
If you go about it with a good lead time and some dedicated research, you can put together many fine trips all by yourself. All it takes is a little planning and some logic and reasoning. And it kinda makes it a little nicer, sometimes, when you DIY to
-Frank in Miami
the Florida Keys
I live in Marathon MM59 in the Keys and looking to get my 12.6’ kayak from Mass. to the keys.
Do you have space-room?
or anyone else out there heading south that can help?
If you can get it from Mass
to NC before Thursday, I"ll bring it the rest of the way.
I will have two yaks and a canoe on the roof, and I can fit one more.
It would have to be Charlotte or western NC though since the coast is eight hours from here.