canoeing in the Everglades, part 2

naturist 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the naked volleyball tournament at the Lake Come Resort in Florida again, but as much as it was an amazing weekend of fun and games, I don’t have any footage to share (though there was a photo art project – still need to hear what came out of it). Well, I still have some material from my last year’s journey, however. So, here’s a report from a 2-day canoe/kayak trip that we did in the northern Everglades (you can see the trails on our map).

We started off at the Everglades City, and after paddling about two hours in the open water, we got a bit lost in the mangroves… Until I remembered that I had an offline map on my phone that could still use GPS to tell the location (there’s no mobile service). With this delay, we’d need to really rush to make it to the chickee (a platform above water) where we planned to camp overnight, but luckily there was another campsite on our way at the Lopez River, and there was nobody staying.

view 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

It was great to be on the solid land after several hours of paddling against the current! So we decided to camp there, although I wanted my friends to get an experience of camping on a chickee, which Tam and I enjoyed thoroughly.

naturist 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

The birds were singing in the sunset rays, and everything seemed perfect.

singing bird 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

But then came no-see-ums (sandflies), and our evening was cut short, as we retreated to the tents after the dinner. Though we still enjoyed the full moon, and it was peculiar to see a lot of locomotion in the river as the night came – it must have been a spawning season for some fish.

Next day, we continued paddling upstream, seeing quite a bit of wildlife around us.

ibis 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

Well, if ibises is nothing special for Florida, the next encounter was truly exciting – a sawfish!

I noticed it next to my kayak and called the canoe crew to come to see it. It stayed still, but I was a bit shocked by its strange appearance, so it took me a few more seconds to reach out for my GoPro to take an underwater shot… by which time it left :-/

sawfish 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

It’s probably rarer to see sawfish than manatees, and the ranger station even asks to report their sightings. After this, spotting an osprey nest didn’t seem like a big deal at all.

osprey nest 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

Then we reached the chickee where we were supposed to stay overnight, had lunch there and shot some videos, a few seconds of which became a part of our promo for the NuDance class with damoN.

After that, we decided to split, as I wanted to return by a different route, but the canoe crew wanted “to stay on the safe side” and took the same way back. In the end, it wasn’t a good idea for them, as that route went a lot more through the open water, and the day was windy – so they gladly took an offer of a ranger passing by on a motorboat who gave them a lift. I myself went in a kayak via Turner River and then a canal along the bridge/road to Chokoloskee. My highlight was a little diversion that I took there in a narrow canal on the side.

view 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

This allowed me to see the dense mangrove forest from the inside.

view 0002 Everglades, Florida, USA

So, this trip was from the opposite side of the Everglades of where Tam and I had a 4-day adventure in 2014. I hope to do the whole canoe trail through the Everglades some day – still need to see what’s between the two areas I’ve visited.

secluded spot at Key Biscayne (Miami)

naturist 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Welcome to Miami! And if you think that glamorous and crowded Miami Beach is the only way to enjoy the tropical seaside, you are wrong. Key Biscayne island lies south-east of Miami Downtown, close enough to see its skyline,

view 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but wild and remote enough to enjoy a small secluded beach with barely anyone else in sight, and totally naked if you will. (By the way, the first photo and the one below were taken at the same spot, just at different times of the day, so you can see how tides change.)

naturist 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

The northeast point of Key Biscayne, right by the fossilized reef, has a history of nude recreation, but it’s not an official nudist beach, while Virginia Key just north of it did have an official nudist beach until 1980’s. The place is known as Bear Cut beach. Maybe “bare” would be more appropriate than “bear” here, though far not all visitors bare it all, and some – actually nothing at all: a couple of fishermen were covered entirely, face included.

fisherman 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Besides humans, we also saw quite a few animals of the rare kind that actually wear something:

hermit crab 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

hermit crabs were all over the place there, from the size of a nail to the size of a palm. And luckily for them, there seemed to be no shortage of shells of various sizes.

hermit crab 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USAhermit crab 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It was nice to wander through the mangroves and observe nature.

naturist 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Besides numerous crabs, we saw quite a few crab spiders (aka spinybacked orb-weavers).

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Some of them built their webs quite high up,

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

with an impressive span between the trees.

crab spider spinybacked orb-weaver 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I found these spiders pretty too, and hopefully there aren’t readers of this blog with arachnophobia :O (Does anyone know its scientific name btw? And if you like spiders, check this post out!)

spider 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Well, the sight of ibises would probably be more commonly appreciated 🙂

ibis 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

As we walked at the fossilized reef,

naturist 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

we also saw a heron. It didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence. I got pretty good shots of it resting,

heron 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

hunting

heron 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and flying.

heron 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

We also saw flocks of pelicans pass by,

pelican 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but only a couple of them rested nearby.

pelican 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Our neighbor at the cove where we stayed was an iguana.

iguana 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It  was climbing trees,

iguana 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and Lee Roy followed its example.

naturist 0004 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Although majority of trees there are represented by various mangrove species, we also saw papayas

papaya 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and coconut palms.

coconut palm-tree 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Too bad none of them had ripe fruit. These ants though seemed to be excited about something at the tip of the mangrove root, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. (BTW I later discovered that honey from mangrove blossom has a very particular fruity flavor, make sure to try it when you get a chance!)

ants on mangrove root 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Plants and animals weren’t the only thing that drew our attention though:

trash 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

unfortunately, there was quite a lot of trash too. Most of it was probably washed off from the sea. On the way out, we collected plastic bags and bottles from the cove where we stayed.

mangroves view 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Some of the bigger bits of trash though found their new life as sitting surfaces among mangroves. That’s a good way of recycling too!

mangroves view 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

It also turned out to be a great place for snorkeling. I hoped to see manatees,

seaweed & corals 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

but I had to be satisfied with their potential feeding ground only, as some parts of the seafloor were covered with seaweed.

seaweed & corals 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I was also happy to see that despite this place is known for its fossilized reef from several thousands years ago, there is some new coral growth – hopefully there will be a new live coral reef sometime soon!

seaweed & corals 0002 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USAseaweed & corals 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

I saw quite a lot of fish, e.g. young barracudas (?)

fish 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

and a stingray.

ray 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

There was a lot of small fish by the mangrove roots, confirming mangroves’ role as fish nurseries. Among the bigger fish, puffers were probably most common.

As you can see, the water is very clear there, and the seafloor is clean, but I did see some glass, so be careful when you wade.

hermit crab 0003 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

Overall, it was amazing to see this pocket of wildlife right off Miami downtown, great for naturists and naturalists alike!

mangroves view 0001 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

As we were about to leave, this crab wanted to give us a good-bye hug… We weren’t quite sure.

crab 0000 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

We also had a small video shot for something very special – stay tuned for updates!

naturist 0005 Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA

For now, just enjoy this view of Eddy’s jump split trying to bridge Miami downtown (on the left) with Miami Beach (on the right).

canoeing in the Everglades

You might have been surprised to hear about a hiking trail in South Florida in my previous blogpost, but did you know that you could go canoeing in the Everglades for a week or so without seeing any settlements? That is the largest continuous mangrove forest in western hemisphere for you! On our latest trip to Florida, Tam and I didn’t have quite as much time, but we ventured out to explore the southern part of the Everglades National Park for 3 days on a canoe. That’s where the “river of grass” I was talking about in my previous post meets the sea, but at this point it is no longer dominated by sawgrass but mangroves, a unique group of trees that can grow in brackish and even sea water (I wrote more about them previously). The canoe trail goes from Flamingo Visitor Center in the south to Everglades city, and there are multiple campgrounds along the way. As you may wonder how one would be able to camp in the mangroves, it’s better to reveal the solution right away – chickee.

naturist 0003 Everglades, Florida, USA

These are simple above-water wooden structures consisting of raised floor and roof adapted from Seminole (local Native American tribe) design; porta-potty is an important modern addition, though. As we didn’t have time to do the whole trail, we just planned our route based on availability of chickees in the vicinity of Flamingo visitor center. It turned out to be a good idea to arrive in the afternoon the day before, so we could reserve our spot on chickees and have 3 full days of canoeing. We were told that it would take about 6 hours of paddling to get to the nearest chickee, in Hells Bay, but rarely people did paddle there all the way from Flamingo and preferred to be rather dropped off at a closer location, from which they could use another path. We were happy to do all the way by canoe though, that was why we came there for. It’s worth noting that the campground at Flamingo has the best kind of grass for camping, it felt very comfortable to sleep even without any mats. The night was pretty cold (by South Florida standards!), the first cold night of this winter, but the forecast looked promising for the next days. The morning was much warmer indeed, but there were some rain clouds around. Tam and I rented a canoe, and Peter, who could only stay for a day, got a single kayak. We also bought a very detailed map of the area, which is a must if you plan a trip like this. People at boat rental sounded a bit surprised that we were going to paddle to Hells Bay from there, but we trusted the park ranger who said we would be able to do it. Off we went, and it started raining. Luckily, I was clever enough to take my waterproof bike pannier “Ortlieb”, where we could store the essentials. Our food provision  consisted of dried cretan barley bread, banana bread, nuts and a box of tropical fruits that we bought at “Robert is here” farmer market.

It took us about an hour to go through the first canal, and somewhere midway I took off my shorts, as they got soaked in the rain and didn’t serve any purpose. When we reached the first area with open water – Coot Bay, Peter decided to head back to Flamingo. The rain was losing power and turned into a calm warm drizzle. Then I briefly saw a fin sticking out of water, and I was quite speechless, as it was very close to us and I couldn’t figure out whether it was a shark or a dolphin. But not for too long – we heard a sound of deep exhale and saw another fin, it was clearly a dolphin. We followed it for a while and saw that there were a few more closer to the shore. We even saw one jumping out of water in a distance. Then three of them were swimming towards the channel where we had to go too. It was amazing to see dolphins so close and hear how they breathed, thanks to quietness around.

dolphins 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

After that, we went through another, even bigger, Whitewater Bay and then East River. We enjoyed navigational aspect of canoeing both in the open water and narrow winding river. Overall, it took us just 4.5 hours to reach Hells Bay chickee from Flamingo, but we weren’t the only ones to arrive. Just when we entered Hells Bay, we saw a group of 5 canoes with 10 people  approaching the chickee too. They docked all at one side and we took the other. I was still naked and decided to give it a try – I really didn’t want to put on my wet shorts. I noticed a couple of stares and put on my sarong for a while, but it didn’t hold well while we were pitching the tent. One guy from the group came to us though, and asked me to put on some clothes in a semi-awkward semi-appologetic manner, explaining his request by the presence of “college girls”. Later he came back not but once but twice, as he wanted to stay on friendly terms with us. It turned out they were from Outward Bound School, and he said he and his fellow instructor were personally cool with nudity but the girls apparently weren’t; we didn’t feel like having a lengthy discussion as to whether girls of college age should be familiar with male anatomy and why the mere sight of a naked man doing random things like pitching a tent should be seen in any way offensive. On the second time, he gave us a compass; we had one too, but his was more convenient to use with the map. He gave us a couple of navigation tips too. Before the darkness fell, we went on a short trip to explore the surroundings and saw an alligator swimming not too far from the chickee.

alligator 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

Three more people came to the chickee in the evening, but apparently there was a mistake with reservations, as  such chickees are not meant for more than 12 people. Luckily those guys seemed to know the area and didn’t mind to go further to another chickee.

As we went to sleep, we realized that it was a big mistake not to bring any kind of padding to put under sleeping bags… Chickee floor is hard wood, and it’s not something I’m used to when I go camping, so it didn’t even occur in my head to bring something soft… Somehow, we managed to sleep well, probably due to tiredness from paddling, and by the time we woke up, the Outward Bound School team had already left. We started the day with planning out the route, Tam definitely liked to work with our new compass.

naturist 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

There were just a few clouds,

view 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

but one of them did produce a short rain.

naturist 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

It remained very warm, and we just enjoyed the sound of rain and the view of the bay from under the roof of the chickee.

view 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

As the sun came out, we gave it a proper salutation 🙂

naturist 0002 Everglades, Florida, USA

We definitely needed some good stretching, and partner exercises worked great for us.

naturist 0004 Everglades, Florida, USA

We were almost sad to say good-by to our first chickee, but we knew we had a great day ahead.

naturist 0005 Everglades, Florida, USA

We stopped by for lunch at another chickee, in Lane Bay, and then continued our way towards Whitewater Bay. We noticed that for some reason one bank of the channel had smaller and younger mangrove trees than the other.

mangrove 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

When we entered the Whitewater Bay, it was much more difficult to paddle due to wind and currents. It was also more difficult to navigate with few landmarks around. But at least the day was a perfect combination of clouds and sun.

view 0002 Everglades, Florida, USA

We didn’t see that many birds to our surprise (apparently, there are some bird colonies further up north of the Whitewater Bay), but there still was some variety.

great egret 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

A great heron let us approach it pretty close.

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We saw quite a few american ibises but those were a lot warier. I managed to snap some nice shots of their profiles, though.

american white ibis 0001 Everglades, Florida, USAamerican white ibis 0002 Everglades, Florida, USA

We also saw ospreys by their nests

osprey 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

One pair seemed to be happy: they were sitting together in the nest watching sunset,

osprey 0002 Everglades, Florida, USAosprey 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

whereas the other pair seemed to go through some issues, as one them was out of the nest and they looked in different directions. Well, I’m just making things up, but it’d be nice if could observe their behavior longer.

We also saw dolphins again, they passed by us very close.

view 0003 Everglades, Florida, USA

As the clouds turned white, we finally saw that Whitewater Bay deserved its name. After that, we went through another channel, Joe River, and then entered its smaller branch that was supposed to bring us to the next chickee.

view 0004 Everglades, Florida, USA

Our timing was just perfect,

view 0005 Everglades, Florida, USA

a beautiful sunset view opened before us, and then we saw the chickee. We arrived just as the sun touched horizon.

chickee 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

We still had enough time to pitch our tent in light, but then mosquitos became quite brutal despite the repellent.

view 0006 Everglades, Florida, USA

This didn’t last too long, luckily, mosquitos mostly disappeared after nightfall. We saw an amazing starry sky. We also heard familiar breathing sound close to our chickee but we didn’t see any fins sticking out of the water. So, my guess was that it might have been a manatee, which Florida is famous for but are not easy to spot in the wild. By the way, we were quite annoyed to see some speeding motorboats despite the signs warning about manatees. And even more so, it was annoying to hear how far their noise travels in otherwise amazingly tranquil environment. Here is another paradox for you, how come something like a speedboat is allowed in this national park, despite it is known to be hurtful to the endangered species the park is meant to protect, whereas something as innocent as a sight a naked human wouldn’t be accepted… These were some topics we talked about before we had our early night sleep; again on the hard floor, but we seemed to be getting accustomed to it.  We heard alligators or crocodiles grunting at night, so my first thought in the morning was to go around the bay and try to see any.

mangrove 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

It was a nice quiet morning, mangrove trees with their white trunks reflected beautifully in the still dark water.

mangrove 0002 Everglades, Florida, USA

When we approached the place from where we thought the grunting was coming from at night,

naturist 0006 Everglades, Florida, USA

we indeed saw a middle-size alligator! It was looking at us for while but dived when we approached closer.

alligator 0001 Everglades, Florida, USA

When we got back to the chickee, we saw a few juvenile needlefish – mangroves are important fish nurseries after all.

juvenile needlefish 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

We didn’t linger much after breakfast, as we had a full day of paddling back to Flamingo and we didn’t know how the wind and currents would be. On the way to Whitewater Bay, we went through another smaller channel where we were supposed to see marshes according to the map. However, both banks seemed to be entirely taken over by mangrove trees. This must be a recent change, as those were small trees.

mangrove 0003 Everglades, Florida, USA

The weather was just perfect again. We saw rain somewhere afar, but it didn’t come to us.

view 0007 Everglades, Florida, USA

Despite the wind, we were doing very well in terms of timing, so when we reached Coot Bay, I thought we should divert to Mud Lake, as it was connected by a very narrow channel, which sounded like fun to go through.

naturist 0007 Everglades, Florida, USA

The sign saying “No motorboats” sounded promising. This was a path similar to the narrow kayak trail I took in Yucatan last year, but mangroves were much bigger here. It was quite a lot of fun to maneuver in this channel, challenging our coordination,

naturist 0008 Everglades, Florida, USA

while we had to watch out for low branches

naturist 0011 Everglades, Florida, USA

and mosquitos at the same time. As mosquitos couldn’t reach us in the open water, they must have felt lucky that we decided to go deep into the mangrove forest.

mangrove 0004 Everglades, Florida, USA

We managed to pass through the channel quite fast and were rewarded with seeing the particularly peaceful Mud Lake with several herons ashore and young alligators swimming at the surface.

naturist 0010 Everglades, Florida, USA

As we came back to the main route, we were still naked, but when a couple of tour boats were passing by we covered with shorts to avoid possible confrontation. But we couldn’t really complain, as the previous day we spent naked entirely, and on that day we did 14 out of 15 miles of canoeing in the buff! Sadly, but our naked adventure was over. People at canoe rental seemed to be surprised that we made it 😀

We were happy to have a warm meal at the restaurant in Flamingo, although we both agreed that our self-proclaimed ‘eat like a bird diet’, consisting of mainly fruits and nuts, was just fine and we didn’t get tired of it in three days. Now that I think of it, this was more like our ancestral ‘monkey diet’, no wonder it worked well for us. What we were really looking forward to was sleeping on that amazing soft grass of Flamingo campground! During night, the temperature plummeted as a result of the infamous polar vortex which brought freezing temperatures down to central Florida. It wasn’t quite as cold in South Florida, which hardly ever gets freezing temperatures being at the tip of the tropical climate zone, but even 15˚C  felt chilling after the previous three hot days. Wind was more of a problem though, as we had to cycle about 45 miles to Florida city. Because of the constant  headwind, what could be a pleasant leisurely ride of 3.5h across the flat plane of the Everglades, turned into an exhausting 5h trip that felt like a never-ending uphill.

view 0008 Everglades, Florida, USA

This part was no longer naked, of course, but it’s worth mentioning that on one of our brief stops, at Nine Mile Pond, we were almost eaten by saw a huge alligator,alligator 0003 Everglades, Florida, USA

which we noticed in the last moment… It seemed to be sleeping.

alligator 0002 Everglades, Florida, USA

I wonder if those black vultures noticed it too, as they were coming very close to it, but we didn’t have time to wait and see…

american black vultures & alligator 0000 Everglades, Florida, USA

Actually, we had a chance to eat some alligator meat as we stopped at Gator Grill diner after exiting the Everglades, but I went for local frog legs instead and they were amazing (Tam had a veggie burger). We definitely would love to make another similar trip and do the whole canoe trail perhaps. Let’s see who eats whom next time 😉

Well, after making this joke, I feel I need to refer to some of the comments made to my blogpost about hiking in the Everglades:

airseatraveler:

Wow… I could never venture to a place that had snakes alligators, and many other creatures that could KILL me, much less naked! Good on you, and awesome pictures! Thanks for sharing!

My reply was:

… thanks for your comments about my bravery, but here is some food for thought for you. So, you say you “would never venture to a place that had… many… creatures that could KILL” you, but I’m pretty sure you drive or at the very least cross streets where others drive. How many people did die from cars in Florida? 2500-3500 per year between 2005-2009. Now, how many people did die from alligators? Between 2000 and 2007, there were 0-3 fatal alligator attacks per year, and none at all between 2007-2014 so far! In the whole of US, on average 5 people per year die because of snake bites. Of course, you could argue that a lot more people drive cars than wrestle with alligators, but nevertheless these numbers show that many more people suffer from cars than from alligators, and yet it’s only the latter that scare you!

And sadly, in the end of our vacation in Florida, well in the ‘safety’ of Miami urban jungle, I only confirmed the statistics with my own example – I was hit and run over by a car, but luckily not with a fatal result, or even, at least as it seems now, any lifelong injuries. I have a few fractures but they are supposed to heal fast… So, I don’t think I’ll stop hiking or canoeing anytime soon, just like I’ll continue move around in big cities such as my current hometown New York.

kayaking in mangroves in Yucatan

Traveling with some new friends in Yucatan, I wanted to arrange another sailing trip at Progreso, a port town near Merida. Luckily the owner of the boat, Samuel, had free time when we were there and the forecast was pretty good… until the last moment. When the wind started getting stronger and the waves, higher. When we left the haven, it looked too dangerous to go in the open sea and we retreated…

Thanks to having a local with us, we quickly figured out an alternative to naked sailing in the open sea – kayaking in mangroves! Luckily, La Ria, eco-touristic centre in Progreso, was right nearby, and and there was also a bus line that could easily bring us back to Merida. We rented single kayaks, as those were easier to manoeuvre judging by my previous experiences in Long Island Sound, which was even more important for passing through channels in mangroves.

naturist 0003 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Those narrow ‘trails’ were actually quite tricky to paddle through, as the oars were just too long to move between the mangrove trees. We discovered that the best way to move forward was to simply push branches above us with hands; that is probably the closest we can to the state of a monkey leaping from one tree to another.

naturist 0000 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

It was nice that the first part of the trail went in the middle of dense mangroves, so that we stayed in their shade while the sun was high. There were different species of mangrove trees that had various adaptations for living in saline tidal waters. Red mangroves (on the left of the photo below) use stilt roots to keep the rest of the plant above the high tide margin, while black mangroves (on the right) us pneumatophores (specialised root-like structures which stick up out of the soil like straws) to deliver oxygen to the root system.

naturist 0011 red and white mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

 

naturist 0007 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Many trees were full of fruit and blossom, though the latter is not very noticeable.

red mangrove flower 0009 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

It is actually quite amazing that the seeds of many mangrove species germinate while still being on the parent tree – it is probably the best plant equivalent of pregnancy!

red mangrove fruit 0008 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

When the seedling is mature enough to travel, it falls into water and floats until it finds suitable conditions to lodge in the mud and root.

mangrove fruit 0010 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

After ‘crawling’ through the mangroves, it was relieving to emerge into open water!

naturist 0001 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Our next goal was to find an islet with shorebird colony. The guide from La Ria told us about it, but unfortunately they didn’t provide any maps to take with us, because “they would get wet”. After a bit of wandering, we finally saw it!

shorebird colony 0000 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

It looked like any other island around but was chosen by dozens and dozens of various shorebirds for nesting.

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We saw herons, cormorants,

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frigatebirds

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and pelicans, of course.

pelican 0001 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

After that, we checked out a couple of other channels in mangroves.

naturist 0002 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

One of the trails seemed particularly promising but it didn’t lead anywhere.

naturist 0004 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

When we came back to the opening, we saw a boat leaving from La Ria, but it went back immediately. We figured that they were probably worried about us already and were relieved to see us. I doubt they could see that we were naked though, but would that matter to them? This is how we do 🙂

naturist 0006 mangroves, Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico

Upon return to ecolodge, we chilled in the shade and had a delicious seafood lunch. So the day didn’t go quite like we had planned, but obviously we had no regrets! Kayaking in mangroves is so much fun!