Monday, January 30, 2012

Everglades kayaking in the magrove tunnel at sunset

I enjoy every kayak trip in the Everglades but one of my favorite trips is the sunset paddle.  On our mangrove tunnel sunset paddle, we start an hour and a half from sunset. We paddle on small isolated lakes and between them traverse through magnficent mangrove tunnels.  We paddle past lounging alligators getting their last rays of sun for the day and watch birds stalk fish.  Once the sun starts going down we watch as the colors start to paint the sky.  First that awesome golden hue, or golden hour where everything starts to glow from the mangrove roots to the grasslands.  During this time, we watch overhead as many types of wading birds fly back to communal roosts to rest for the night.  As the sun continues to dip down, we headback through the last tunnels and arrive back at dusk.  This trip never gets old and it is a great way to say goodnight to the Everglades.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Overnight Kayaking in the Everglades National Park

Overnight camping trips in the Everglades National Park are a great way to see the "Real Florida".   There are many camping spots in the western Everglades among the 10,000 islands.  There are isolated sandy beaches, ground sites(along the river), and above the water chickee platfoms(nestled among hidden coves).  This area is still old Florida and it is preserved unlike a lot of Florida.  From the moment you drive into our town with no stop lights until you end up at your sandy beach paradise, this is really getting away from it all.  I have to say that my favorite sites our the beach sites.  There are many things to do on the islands such as tide pooling, bird watching, fishing, reading books, and again just getting away from it all.  One overnight in the Everglades and you will feel like you have been gone for days.  The trip to the islands take anyway from 2 to 5 hours depending on the weather, wind, tides, and campsites.  On our trips we have a shuttle boat carry all of our gear so that you don't have to carry all of your gear on the boat, we call this GLAMPING (glamorous camping).  The journey out to the island is great as you weave in and out of the 10,000 islands passing many different birds, dolphings, and sometimes the elusive Florida Manatee.  So next time you are thinking of what to do for vacation, please remember to give yourself a break and hangout in paradise for a night or two.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why vacation in SouthWest Florida?

There are a lot of  reasons to travel and vacation in Southwest Florida.   If you are looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy the outdoors, than this blog is meant for you.  Southwest Florida has some of the best kayaking in the world, and there are trips for everyone from the two hour paddle to the multi-day paddling trip named the "Wilderness Waterway".    There is plenty of inland kayak trips were you can paddle past wading birds,alligators basking in the sun, and traverse  through the mangrove tunnels. Some of my favorite places to visit  for an great outdoor experience are the 10,000 islands, Corkscrew
Swamp Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Ding Darling, and Lovers Key State Park. Swamp Walks are getting very popular in Southwest Florida and these walks are something that one will never forget.  Imagine walking thru water up to your waist(at times) and search  for one of Florida's many orchids in a Cypress Forest.  Don't worry if walking in water doesn't seem like you thing, then check out some of the many dry and sandy trails.  Fishing is great in this area especially around the 10,000 islands, and Big Cypress Area.  Image reeling in giant Largemouth bass and saltwater species such as redfish, tarpon, snook, permit, and many more.  There are plenty of fishing tours from the huge boats with tons of people, to the 2 person trip with a guide that is more than likely a regular on the T.V. fishing shows.  Please remember that there are many activities for people that are not as interested in kayaking, hiking, or fishing.  In Naples, Fort Myers, and Marco there is plenty of shopping, beaches, dining, spa treatment centers, and daily nightlife with plenty of Jimmy Buffet impersonators.  Marco is the quietest of the three and if you want to get quieter then that stay in Everglades City or Chokoloskee island.  These two islands are very slow paced, friendly, no traffic jams and we loved to brag that we do not have one stoplight.  Come enjoy and relax in the great outdoors in Southwest Florida and have the vacation of a lifetime.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fullmoon Kayaking in Southwest Florida

                                    Fullmoon Kayaking in Southwest Florida
Kayaking under the soft glow of the moonlight is not only romantic but peaceful. At Shurr Adventures we offer a fullmoon kayak trip several nights each month. We meet our guests at the historic Smallwood Store before sunset and get them ready to kayak on beautiful Chokoloskee Bay. This area is part of the 10,000 islands. There are actually anywhere from 13 to 14 thousand mangrove islands starting from Marco Island all the way south to Chokoloskee Island.
Once everyone is ready, we paddle out onto Chokoloskee Bay to watch the sunset as hundreds of birds return home to a nearby rookery. We often see White Ibis, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons and many more types of birds fly right past us to claim there spot on mangrove tree branches, where they will spend the night. These birds sleep in large groups for safety. The chatter and noise of this rookery is amazing, making one feel as if they are submerged in a National Geographic documentary. As the sunsets, the fullmoon begins to rise. From here we typically paddle under the light of the fullmoon listening to the night sounds of the 10,000 islands come alive. It truly is a magical experience unlike anything else. Check out our website for upcomming Fullmoon trip dates.
We look forward to paddling with you!
Alli Shurr

Kayaking in the 10,000 islands Everglades National Park.

When most people think of the Florida Everglades, they think of a dark swamp with snakes hanging from every branch and alligators around every corner.  Now to be fair, there are alligators, dark swampy areas,and yes there are some snakes(not on every branch we only see a few each year), but there is another side to the Everglades that most people don't know about, the 10,000 islands.  The  10,000 islands are mangrove islands with not much or any land to walk around on.  If you would walk out unto the island you would have to balance on the roots and swat mosquitoes at the same time(trust me it is hard).  This area is very easy to get lost or turned around in, since everything looks the same.  The fishing and wildlife viewing is great at certain times.  You rarely ever see an alligator in this area during our  kayak season, but you can definitely see the Atlantic-bottle nosed dolphin.  These dolphins come in and go out with the tides feeding and playing.  There are also Manatees in this area, but they are hard to find and not very easy to spot.  If you do see them, there nose looks like a coconut when it comes up to take a breath.  One of the best things about the 10,000 islands are it's isolated florida beaches.  These sandy white beaches are a great place to feel very far away from everything, and also a great place to go camping durning the winter.  There is great tide pooling (looking for creatures at low tide), and great fishing also.  At Shurr Adventures we can arrange overnight trips, or a full day trip where we can paddle out to the islands.  One of my favorite trips that we offer is our 10,000 island sunset trip.  During this trip we weave in and out of the mangroves and end up watching the sunset dipping behind the mangroves as 300 to 500 wading birding come in to rest at night.  If people don't want to paddle near alligators, or have small children, this is the trip that we suggest. The best thing about this area is that we are not that far from Marco island, Naples, or Miami.  I will be posting about our full moon trips. sunrise trips, and full day trips in the 10,000 islands, which we offer from Nov.1 to May 15th in my future blogs.  Please e-mail this blog to a friend or put it on facebook if you liked it.Thanks for reading and please remember I am a guide not an english professor(ha ha).    Justin

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kayak trip in the Everglades Turner River

This blog is to describe what kayaking is like on the Turner River.  The Turner River is actually in The Big Cypress National Preserve, which is to the north of Everglades National Park.  You can kayak for a couple of hours on a half day kayak trip or you can paddle the Turner River all the way down to southwest florida's ten thousand islands popping out with Chokoloskee Island in full view. On our tour we do both the three hour tour (not to Gilligans Island) and on certain days (depending on the tides) we paddle the full day trip.  The Turner River is one of my favorites to show people who want a "real Florida vacation"in the beautiful Everglades.  This trip feels as if you are with National Geographic as you see different bird species right by your boat and alligators basking in the Florida sun as you paddle quietly by. Some of the birds we see are Green Herons, Black Crowned-Night Herons, Wood Storks, Snowy and Great Egrets and many more.  Last season we saw about 15 baby alligators on the momma gator's back for a week in a row.  Of course, we were as far away as possible not to bother the mother or babies.  The water on the Turner River is very clear most days and you often see turtles and fish swimming about. Watching the birds catch fish is a daily routine for Shurr Adventures.  A lot of the mangrove tunnels are no more than six feet wide. As we wind through the mangrove tunnels we occasionally see a beautiful orchid hidden in the mangrove forest.  This place is magical, and a full day trip is a great way to see it too, but it is a long paddle for a lot people (5-6 hours).  Going down the river the whole way you get to see a few more ecosystems and we pass near a Calusa Indian mound.  I don't want to type everything that we see because it would take too many blogs and ruin the surprise that awaits people that come paddling with Alli and I (Justin) at  Join us for an Everglades mangrove tunnel kayak adventure tour anytime! And please stay in tune to our blog as we have many more adventures to type about soon.