A Little Night Kayaking on Florida’s Space Coast

A Little Night Kayaking on Florida’s Space Coast

From guest blogger The Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce and Bill Ronat

The water is warming up and that means our little friends the dinoflagellates are already putting on their nightly lightshow in the nearby Indian River and Mosquito Lagoons.

The single-celled microorganisms create a fascinating glow that kayakers can stir up with paddles, or see when the fish, dolphin, or manatees swim by. There are only a few places in the world where this watery bioluminescence happens and the lagoons around Titusville are home to the dino-bio, as the kayakers call them.

Last year I took a kayak tour as a guest of Marcia Gaedcke, along with my family and we were able to experience these phenomena for ourselves.

Marcia is an experience kayaker, but the rest of us were amateurs. Still, we all were soon paddling along with relative ease, with grandson Matthew (16 at the time) using his skills as a top percussionist at Viera High School to get into the rhythms of the strokes and Sophie (14) using her natural athletic skills to literally run circles around us.

According to A Day Away Kayak Tours, no experience is necessary to participate in a kayak adventure and kids as young as 5 have shared space with an adult in a tandem kayak. They encourage kids as young as 11 years old to try to go solo if they want to and the guides are prepared to be helpful if the paddling becomes difficult.

A Day Away Kayak Tours 

We had put in at Haulover Canal on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at about dusk and we were heading toward the lagoon as the sun set. We saw herons and many other birds that took flight as we approached and since we were in a wildlife refuge, we could have run into lots of other wildlife. Visitors have seen dolphins, deer, wild pigs, wild turkey, bobcats, eagles and even a gator, although not all at once (you must go to Brevard Zoo for that). This is one of the most diverse ecosystems anywhere with about 4,300 different species of life.

I did have an interesting contact with wildlife as we paddled toward the lagoon. It was a peaceful evening, and the water wasn’t choppy, so it came as a surprise when I felt a pronounced “bump” on the bottom of my boat. Had I hit a rock or submerged log? Then it came again, a little more insistent this time. Marcia laughed and said that one of the manatees was saying hello. No one else on our trip had this happen so I feel privileged that I was chosen to have a close encounter of the sea cow kind.

A Day Away Kayak Tours 

As the sun dipped below the horizon and we ventured farther from civilization, a quiet darkness fell that was only interrupted by the slapping of arms. A few squirts of bug spray soon eliminated this problem and we continued as the night turned inky black.

We each had a light stick that we dangled from our necks and down our backs, and this was enough to keep us from wandering off from the group. We also were wearing PFD (personal floatation devices) and had whistles that we could blow if we needed help (we didn’t). It’s an eerie and unusual feeling to be on the water, in the dark, far away from streetlights and city sounds. I recommend it.

There are only a few places in the world where this watery bioluminescence happens and the lagoons around Titusville are home to the dino-bio, as the kayakers call them.

Then the dino-bio showed up. We swirled our paddles into the water and created moving circles of glowing bioluminescence. Fish swam by and their movement was recreated by the faint light. We could dip a hand in the water, drip it down an arm and have the faint glow show up there. The tiny creatures that create the effect are harmless, perfectly natural, and so small that there are millions of them in a liter of water.

With Otter Paddle Orlando you can  experience the glow of Florida paradise BIOLUMINESCENCE Paddle Board Adventure.

The trips are usually about 90 minutes in length, so you need a minimum amount of strength and endurance, but the pace is usually leisurely (you aren’t training for the Olympics, after all) and as we said before, the whole family is welcome (except for very small children who may not have the patience for the trip). Just use common sense and you’ll be fine.

Getting close to nature can be a wonderful experience and a kayak will convey you to another world, a world that’s just minutes away. It’s an adventure that just about anyone can enjoy and this is the time of year when natural wonders will make the experience even more unique. 

Get to Titusville on Florida’s Space Coast, get on the water and find out for yourself.

The Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce was founded by volunteers in 1922 and is the oldest chamber in Brevard County.

Citizens and visitors alike look to the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce for reliable information and references about the best our community has to offer.  Our organization and members share the desire to improve the community and the climate for business.  We help direct the energies of those who believe that a community worth living in is a community worth fighting for.