All Things Kayaking


Alligators and I have a checkered relationship. While kayaking the Hillsborough River outside Tampa, Fl we spotted many small alligators sunning themselves in branches along the river. If you ignore them, they ignore you. Reaching the end of our Hillsborough River trip we ventured into a smaller stream while waiting our ride. Winding through the mangroves just around a curve two large alligators appeared lying on the shore about fifty feet in front of us. Turning to my spouse, paddling behind me, I suggested he snap a shot of my kayak with the alligators in the distance. As I finished this reasonable request a large splash snapped my head back around. Now one alligator lies on the shore and the second has disappeared into the dark water. Back paddling seemed like a really good idea at that point. So began my nervousness about alligators. I always want to know where they are and choose not to be near them.

For several years my brother-in-law lived in Cape Coral directly across from a nature preserve. We kayaked in the preserve often and enjoyed amazing bird shows from wood storks, ibises, herons, and others. One day we spooked wild pigs on the shore line. Their squeal is nerve-racking. But “alligators did not exist in the nature preserve”, stated my brother-in-law very emphatically.


Which explains this picture from the nature preserve. The large “log” on the far shore is a sunning alligator. In the orange kayak between me and the alligator? My brother-in-law who luckily was not lunch!

Me? I still keep a respectable distance from alligators and am glad they do not exist on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

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