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Part 3 - Jan. 24th - Day 35 - Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation

Updated: Jan 29

Around Florida by Kayak Map

Winds shifted to Southeast, so I switched from paddling in the ocean to the gulf intracoastal waterway to avoid the headwind. After all the excitement of the swells, tidal rapids and gusting winds since leaving Cedar Key, paddling in the safety of the intracoastal felt monotonous. I passed by mangrove islands, multitudes of houses with wide lawns, crossed under a few draw bridges and dodged boat traffic from both directions. There was, however, one very good thing; in the Atlantic side I always kept an eye out for any private boat ramps I could make a rest stop as these almost always have a freshwater hose to wash motor boats. They are a great opportunity to get a quick bath to wash off the salt and sweat. Today I found two.

I camped on a small island in the mouth of Venice Inlet which turned out to be a very popular spot. Over the course of the evening several boaters stopped by to drink beer, play country music, and catch up on local gossip. I had some island neighbors for the night too, a group of local high school kids set up camp and started a fire on the opposite end of the island. I was impressed that one of the boys who mustn’t have been more than 16 but was in complete command of his small power boat and could maneuver it whichever way he needed to avoid the rocks in the tight jetty entrance. He barked out orders to the other kids who dutifully did as he said.

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The other people were a party of old guys and their wives admiring the sunset, I noticed one of them had a hat and shirt with the name “The Snake Island Republic,” and a logo of a snake smoking a cigarette. I knew from the map that this was the name of the island we were on. “Many years ago, when Venice Inlet was dredged, the sand was piled on to a small sandbar which then became this little island, we call Snake Island,” he said. Subsequent dredges added to the size of the island; eventually some vegetation took hold and a few jetty rocks were added to keep the sand in place.

“No one really knows where the name came from as there are no snakes here, but it stuck.”

The place is so popular on weekends, that it has become the place for boaters to party, drink, and play loud music much to the annoyance of one particular neighbor who calls the cops to disperse the crowd. The old man with the snake island shirt pointed me to the house on the back side of the inlet, “that’s where the asshole lives. He’s a rich dude from up north who one day decided to buy a house here, and now thinks he can tell everyone what to do. The high school kids have been camping here for years and making campfires but now the city has been imposing all sorts of rules. See that sign? No fires, no alcohol, and no fuckin’ swearing! Who is going to enforce that?”

Fortunately for me, things didn’t get too rowdy and I didn't have to find out; I would have hated to be kicked out from my third island.

Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation


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