Friday, March 19, 2010

Paddling to Pecks

One of the really fun adventures we have here at The Islands is a group paddle to Pecks, a seafood restaurant that is a bit south of Crystal River.  Pecks is in Ozello, about 17 miles by car from our place.  By kayak, it's about  4.5 miles.  Finally the weather is warm enough to paddle (it's been a long winter here in sunny Florida).  So, this morning eight of us set off in kayaks.  Five others planned to travel by car and meet us there.  It was a bit breezy which gave us some headwind, but it wasn't a difficult paddle.

I always find the hardest part of the trip to be getting into the kayak.  Using a kayak when it's on a beach is really easy.  Getting into a kayak from a dock is another story.  It always makes me anxious.  You have to go down the ladder, stand in the tippy kayak and then plop your tush into the seat.  I hate it.  The photo above shows me smiling in relief because I made it into the kayak without tipping it over and falling into the canal.  Once I'm in, paddling is no big deal.  This kayak belongs to another Islands resident who wanted to paddle one way rather than round trip.  That worked for me so I took her boat to Pecks and she paddled it back.

Here we are starting to form up in the canal that leads out to Dixie Bay.  I'm in the red kayak with my back to the camera.

Soon there were even more of us ready to start out.

This is the group arriving at Pecks.  I'm that tiny dot in the upper center of the photo.  It's a good thing I only committed to kayaking one way.  I'm not sure I would have managed the return trip.  Although, I will point out that we paddled into a headwind almost the whole way.  If the wind did not change, the trip back would be easy sailing with the wind behind the group.

Here I am relieved to beach the kayak and get into the restaurant.  Remember I said it's much easier to access a kayak when it's beached?  Well, I misspoke.  I had a lot of trouble standing up.  One of the guys offered to give me a hand but I wanted to do it myself.  Well, I lost my balance and luckily fell back into the kayak rather than into the water.  The second try I was successful.

And here I am ready to go into the restaurant.  Did I mention that Pecks specialty is grouper in an almond crust?  It's fabulous.  And, you don't need to worry about the calories when you've paddled there.  Once we ate and saw everyone back off, Dick and I drove back to The Islands.  This is what Florida is supposed to be.  We've waited for it a long time this year.

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