Mangrove swamp paddling / tides

My wife and I are planning a trip for next winter to go to the Sanibel Fl. area to get away from the cold. I have never paddled in Fl. or the mangrove swamps in central Fl. We are both very experienced open water and down river paddlers. I am unsure what boats to bring, (her) Necky Manatou 14, (me) WS Zephyr 15.5. are our favorite general use boats, but we do have crossover boats if they are better suited for the mangrove swamps. I am not sure what would be the better choice for the area.
I know it is impossible to predict long term, but as a general rule are the mangrove water temperatures similar to the gulf water temps, my wife has very limited cool water clothing.

Sanibel is West Central. Have not been there. But we took our 17ft seakayaks through the mangroves East Central and Everglades without problems. Don’t stop in the tunnels or be ready for bugs in summer. Note “summer” starts in April for bugs. The challenge is to not get lost.

I’d say bring what you like to paddle. Choose days to paddle by the weather and tides. For example… Don’t go into the mud flats on a falling tide.

Those boats will be fine. You will be in an area that contains the Calusa Blueways Trail. It is a series of marked paddling trails around Estero and Lover’s Key. They make it nice because Mangrove Islands end up looking the same and it it easy to get lost in them.

Do check the tides before any long trips. It should be gorgeous with half of the birds from the east Coast to look at.

We don’t really concern ourselves often with water temps when so shallow and close to shore as the mangrove swamps. We do enjoy taking a short ‘canoe’ style paddle for the narrow trails where your double blade may be awkward.
A hand held GPS is nice, because you won’t see much skyline or landmarks for map reading.

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Many times we break down our two piece paddles and “canoe paddle” in the tight areas.
Have fun…

The shorter the shaft, the better. We have one designed to be “wall art” that works great!

I’d suggest you bring whatever boat you like to paddle best. I’ve paddled that area in my Greenlander Pro and Nordkapp HS (both 17’10" long) and had no problem paddling the mangrove tunnels and coastal areas. There are some great places to paddle in that area.
Here is a good site that has good info and maps of the area: