On May 5th, 2012, I did something I thought I'd never do before: Kayak. Instead of going by myself, I went with a group of friends from my Florida history class, and ended up having the time of my life. This is what happened:
By 8am, we were all there. By 9, we set off into the little Manatee river, not knowing what was to be ahead of us. I was in a double kayak with my friend Leighbra, therefore keeping pace in the back. Both of us being inexperienced with kayaking I was extremely nervous as we got stuck in multiple sand bars, crashed into trees with big spiders and many, many bees (I got stung twice by a baby bee) and fell into water almost 8 feet deep that showed no hint of what was underneath.
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However, once we got past these many obstacles in the first half of our trip, it was an experience I'll never forget. I rope swung for the first time in 6 years, and it was awesome! After the rope swing, we continued going through the Manatee, when we saw fresh water turtles mating, along with two Manatees swimming underneath all the kayaks, as if playing with us. Both sites made my heart melt, for I had been waiting for the day I'd see aquatic mammals actually interact with humans.
The rope swing was saved for the last major event. Not having been in about 6 years, I was very excited but scared at the same time. With some encouragement, I climbed up the tree as fast as I can. Instead of just catching the rope, I jumped on it (in mid-air!) and swung for about a minute, then flew off straight into black water. At first I was nervous of the alligators that I knew roamed in areas of the river, or maybe water moccasin snakes, but after a few minutes of floating in the water, I realized it wasn't a huge deal, and that I could relax for a while. I haven't had so much fun in years!
After 5 hours of kayaking and 2 hours of rope swing, we went back to our kayak pick up area at 3:30pm, exhausted but having a blast. We made a little bonfire at the beach part of the state park (also named Little Manatee) and passed a guitar around while recalling our favorite parts of the kayaking, what we learned from our experiences, and if we wanted to go again. I definitely cannot wait until my next kayaking trip, and even if it's not with the same group of people, it's the experience of seeing nature like never before that will ALWAYS amaze me.
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