The Ten Thousand Islands is such a great blessing from nature. A group of tiny islands that stretch as far as the eye can see, the only real way to see it is from above. This archipelago is home to many wild plants, birds, fishes, crabs, dolphins, manatees and mangrove trees. With its natural allure unmatched anywhere else, it provides a haven for the most seasoned vacationers. But don’t be fooled by its beauty, because the islands provide a challenge to those who wish to visit them through a maze of waterways, currents from the open sea and the rough conditions of staying overnight. The archipelago only gives her best to those who are persistent enough to pursue her.
She is delicate yet tricky, unpredictable yet conquerable. But she will ensnare the unwary and the unprepared, that’s why careful planning before taking the plunge, is of utmost importance. Yet once you found the means to woo her and, hence, let you in, there are several ways in which you could enjoy her rewards, let’s look at three of them.
Overnight Kayak Trip
This is the one of the best ways to truly enjoy the Ten Thousand Islands. Enjoying the stars, the night breeze while in your very own private beach island (not technically “your own” but you get the idea) is truly an amazing thing to experience. The Everglades National Park allows visitors to set up camp in Picnic Key and Tiger Key. Picnic Key is more prone to sudden storms yet people still come to this key yearly, something perhaps about the unpredictability of the weather makes one feel closer to nature. The safer side would be on the Tiger Key where vacationers are on a crescent shaped beach that’s a little bit sheltered compared to Picnic Key. You must book a reservation if you plan to have a trip in the Park’s Visitor Center so appropriate preparations can be made.
This one is for the hardcore Kayakers who would like to really get lost deep into the wilds of southwest Florida. The Wilderness Waterway is a 99 mile kayaking adventure from the Everglades City to Cape Sable and Flamingo and back. This entire trip is so long it takes one week to complete. There will be no stops except for the occasional chickee huts along the way that can be used to sleep for the night. Needless to say this is adventure not for the beginner and perhaps even the amateur. Participants in this trip should have considerable experience in kayaking for them to survive this rather perilous yet intensely satisfying way to enjoy The Ten Thousand Islands.
The Indian Key
This is something that’s for the hardest of souls too. This is a fifteen mile paddling ride that takes you to the open seas of the Gulf of Mexico. There will be patches of land along the course of the ride but you will still have to content with the tides and the current since you are out in the open sea. The secret to conquering this part of nature is to time your trip with the tides of the day, paddle during high tide and take a break during low tide then ride back to the mainland when the tide comes back.