Shell Key Wildlife Preserve.
The Shell Key Preserve is an 1800 acre preserve located at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Much of the area is made up of mangrove islands, shallow seagrass meadows, and protected calm waters. The main island is completely undeveloped and home to many species of shorebirds. It is designated as one of the states most important areas for shorebird nesting and wintering. Kayaking in an excellent way to explore the area and experience the inner workings of this coastal habitat.
Florida Mangrove Tunnels.
Mangrove Tunnels offer a unique glimpse into a wonderful ecosystem. Sometimes called Florida's tree of life, mangroves serve as nurseries for fish, oysters, crabs, and shrimp. Many of the tunnels throughout Florida were originally ditches dug for mosquito control but others were formed by the tidal waters ebb and flow. Kayaking offers a great way to explore the mangroves around Tampa Bay and the St Petersburg area....
While kayaking the waters around St Pete Beach it is not uncommon to encounter a resident bottlenose dolphin or two. It is hard to match that feeling of excitement when one decides to take a closer look at this strange watercraft "kayak" carrying us humans around their environment. One of their most outstanding features is their intelligence, with a brain 4-5 times bigger than those of similiar sized animals, they are thought to be one of the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom.
Kayaking & Traveling....
At Coastal Kayak Charters not only do we love guiding kayak tours around the St Pete Beach area, but we also love to explore new areas while traveling. Kayaking provides a unique perspective into unfamiliar territory and helps to improve our skills and knowledge as tour guides. We love the opportunity to bring new experiences to our guided trips here at home. It is a wonderfull way to learn about local flora and fauna and escape the crowds.....
While kayaking around the St Petersburg and Tampa Bay Area it is hard not to notice the brown pelicans which are a common sight. They are commically elegant birds often seen roosting on the mangroves or plunging into the water for fish. Between 1950 and 1970 they almost disappeared completely from North America due to pesticide use.
Double-crested cormorants are widely distributed throughout North America and a common site while kayaking around St Pete Beach and the Tampa Bay area. They feed mainly by diving underwater for fish and are incredibly good swimmers. On occasion they will follow kayakers because we help to stir up fish hiding in the shallow seagrass meadows. Sometimes they even catch a ride taking time to dry their wings......
Rhizophora mangle, better known as the Red Mangrove is one of four species found in Florida. They are probably best known and easily identified by their beautiful prop roots. In the tropics they can grow over 80ft tall but typical grow to around 20ft here in Coastal Florida. Their prop roots help to filter salt from the water and also have small openings that allow the plants to breath. Apart from helping to protect our coastline, they serve as nursery systems to a variety of marine life. When tides permit, kayaking is a great way to explore the inner working of this coastal habitat....