Highlight 1-16-20: Dolphins and Dolphins and Dolphins! Perfect seashells, sand dollars and marine life everywhere!! What an Amazing Tour!
So, the weather was perfect. The salty ocean breeze was calm! The waters were relaxed and reflecting the suns glistening rays --- it was a sparkling sea of beauty <3 We started off on our adventure with our always chill and amazing guests. The tour was sold out, but yet small for that initmate experience of kayaking at the waters edge and learning about the ocean inhabitants. Of course, two naturalist tour guides really makes the customer experience one of a kind... and we definitely work hard to make it awesome! We were all drifting with the well planned out tides which made the paddling easy to appreciate the serenity around us. As we approached our first landing, an island made of seashells galore, the ocean floor was thriving with marine life. I spotted a giant horse conch right away and reached right in and picked it up so, everyone could get an opportunity to see it's bright neon orange flesh. We all laughed and learned so much about this amazing sea snail predator... which is very cool! (And Mike and I love all the questions, everyone has about our ocean friends. After all, these ocean critters are our friends, and as a naturalist, I love having the opportunity to teach the importance of their survival). Oh and let me say, Michael in addition to his certified courses as a naturalist also holds a Bachelor of Science with a background in biology, but even more; he has had a HUGE passion for all wild life and the outdoors since he was a small child. So, his life long learning of not just kayaking experience but, studying and interacting with nature is above and beyond. You will find this out instantly when you engage with him. He has an intriguing and eye opening way of making even those with little interest to start turn into yearning inquirers of ocean life. It's like, when your out there he turns the trip into a magical journey with his smooth narration, amazing knowledge and interesting facts. I love watching how some folks who were nervous or unsure start calming with Michael. They get so relaxed and turn into hard core enthusiasts who appreciate all the nature around them like there eyes have been opened for the first time. And this is the type of rare interaction all of our guests love so dearly! ----As we all pulled up to shore, Mike and I love making everyone feel like their on a first class tour by helping everyone out of their kayaks and assisting with pulling the kayaks to shore. As we all hopped out, sure enough, there were seastars everywhere. The adults to children were so intrigued, and there was so many seastars that everyone could hold one. Moments later, I spotted a sea urchin covered with his camoflouge of seashells and a giant living lightning whelk. I am telling you, certain spots in the ten thousand islands is like a huge aquariam. It is absolutely mind blowing. As we were all gathered for a fun huddle to learn about and interact with a host of marine life off the ocean floor, a couple of male dolphins were having fun showing off as they were fishing just feet off shore from us. (Let me let you in on something, it is not easy to see dolphins ---- with that said, we see them often and I mean often! I will tell you why ---- because I study dolphin behavior in these water ways and create charts of their whereabouts so, we have increased chances to encounter them. It is alot of work but, so worth it)! Anyways, everyone explored the island for seashells and found tons of beauties. But, the best part about this first stop is all of the identification and education our guests receive so, when they get to the next island they get some fun independent exploration. Also, they know what is safe to hold, to keep and what they should put back. (Do you know, we have occassionally run into a lone explorer out there and they are walking around asking "what is this", "I wish I knew what this was" ... and sadly I know they are wishing they signed up for the tour. Even more sadly, they are missing out on so many things they didn't see because they didn't know it was there). Well, we all headed off to our next stop at a pristine island with a huge exposed ocean floor. And while all of our guests were finding all their treasures on the second island, we were making them hand crafted seashell bracelets. We actually hand craft hemp rope by square knotting it into bracelets. We make a variety for each tour and put alot of love into each one. We often think, I bet this guy or girl or child will love this... we really get much joy out of making it special for everyone. Any hoo, we then drill holes into the seashells while on the beach and then add them to the special bracelet each guest picked out. Let me tell ya, this takes some planning as well... but we are definitely good at it and fast too:) As soon as we are done, we head out to collect more unusual marine life and do a huddle for some more fun education time. When everyone was done exploring, our guests ventured back to their kayaks... and we passed out thier hand crafted bracelets with their special seashells attached and gave a knuckle bump to all! Looking out at the gorgeous island we all loaded back into our kayaks and headed back through the beautiful water ways. We encouraged everyone to paddle slowly because, we were expecting some visitors. Sure enough, an entire pod of female dolphins with babies came to play. They swam right up to us and in between our kayaks... everyone was just mesmerized. I love it!! Not just for me but for all my guests... seeing everyone happy is the best part to me! <3 I grabbed my camera and caught some awesome dolphin/guest pics to add to all of their other hundreds of photos I take for free (shhhh I technically am only suppose to give 10 photos for free... but, i just send all the photos i take and often times it's like 50-100+ photos)! So, this was a really awesome tour, (I cannot always guarantee everyone will see dolphins on every tour but, I gotta say... we see them pretty often! Anyways, regardless of what you see... you will see alot of marine life and it's amazing!) I don't think our guests really thought they would see as much as they saw. But, hey when everything is planned out just right through much knowledge, experience, education and dedication.... you're going to see alot and your sure going to have a great time! That's just what we do at Naples Kayak Adventures and WE LOVE IT!! <3
To all our future and returning guests ---- See you on the water soon!
just fyi to eveyone ---- thanks so much for reading my blog. i work hard 24/7 and do not have much time for editing.... but hey it's a blog ----
Naples Kayak Adventures Team