20 January 2014

KAYAKING: GATOR Hunting on the Myakka River, Florida

... with a CAMERA

We had two good days paddling on the Myakka River. From our site , a short paddle intersects us with the river proper, where we can travel north or south - and we did just that. It’s a pretty river and fairly quiet. The palms and riverbank vegetation are thick along the shoreline and there are few takeouts, landings are very muddy. Most river traffic are kayakers and some fishing boats. Not an abundance of waterfowl, but enough to keep us interested. We saw several of the Herons - Blue and Little Blue and Green, Egrets, also Wood Storks and Belted Kingfishers, Osprey and a couple of Hawks we couldn’t identify. Sunday was cooler and we didn’t see any gators but Monday made up for it ... a dozen at least, one that was around 10 feet, a few 8 and 4 footers and one or two small ones. Alligators are only agressive when they are protecting their young or during the breeding season. Like any wild creature if you give them space they won’t bother you. We stayed in the middle of the river channel as much as possible and shot any pictures from a comfortable distance for both us and the gators. 

But, it is somewhat unnerving to have a 10 footer slowly slide off the muddy bank as you paddle by, submerge all of its huge body ... except for the tip of it’s snout and two yellow eyes into the murky water and follow your boat for a distance. What is even more unnerving is when you look over your shoulder ... and the gator's NOT there any longer!

 This fellow was reeeeeaaaallly BIG!

Female alligators rarely exceed 10 feet in length, but males can grow much larger. The Florida state record for length is a 14 foot 3-1/2 inch male from Lake Washington in Brevard County. The Florida record for weight is a 1,043 pound (13 feet 10-1/2 inches long) male from Orange Lake in Alachua County

Florida Cooter Turtle

A Great Blue Heron waits patiently.

Helen was able to paddle right up next to this Green Heron while it fished and got this exceptional photo.

A two footer. Young alligators usually spend the first few years of their lives in the backwater channels until they reach a larger size, so it was unusual to see this little guy along the main river.

An 8 footer.

This Osprey treated us to an aerial fishing display for 15 - 20 minutes ... circling, hovering, dipping, whistling, diving and circling and hovering once again. It worked hard, but did not catch dinner while we watched.

Snook Haven

About a 5 minute walk further down the road from where we are camped is a spot called Snook Haven. Live music every day of the week but one, a roadhouse menu, friendly folk, free kayak useage, cabins for rent, river tours. We visited twice and had fun each time. The locals from Venice spend a lot of time here ... bikers, fishermen, C&W music fans.

The Orley Rivers Band & His DUI’s were the featured band the afternoon we visited.

Crusty ... reporting.


  1. The pictures you two took are incredible! These are the things I miss when I speed kayak...

    1. You're right, there are times when you just have to slow down to see what's in front of you. A truly lovely river to meander along. Helen (aka Wry)


Your comments, suggestions, observations and even opinions are welcome ... please leave some!
TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty