Kayaking Aripeka Florida

The sign says 5.9 miles from Heaven. I think this refers to the first Gulf of Mexico dropoff where they go for big Grouper and Snapper.
Aripeka was the place where Babe Ruth used to come to get away from it all and not much has changed since then.

Eight or ten very large manatees swam right under the boat in a tight estuary. Each one was an adult weighing probably 2000 pounds and nobody disturbed the yak, except this one guy who stuck a face up and looked straight at us as if to say hello.

You can see this fishing cabin has been there for years.

Look closely and you will see prop marks on this large adult manatee. They show up as the white marks on the grey backs of the manatee that never go away once they get hit by a boat prop. Biologists use the marks to identify the large slow animals and it is sad, but most of them have been nicked a time or two.

With hairy backs the manatee at Aripeka almost resemble a pre-historic animal. They spend the winters in the spring fed rivers and freshwater springs in north Florida. They spend the summers just being lazy in the shallow water estuaries in places like Aripeka

Saltwater fish species targeted while kayak fishing in Aripeka are seatrout, redfish, jack creveille, mackeral, sharks and even the occasional snook. This is about as far north as the snook go in Northwest Florida

Not much protection from the west wind and a shallow bottom make this a paddle for just the right day.

The paddle up to Indian Bay and back is about 6 miles. We had a beautiful day, but fought the west sea breeze quite a bit on the way home. These types of kayak paddles should also be done early in the day. In the summer in Florida we get a sustained seabreeze in the afternoon that can get up to 15 knots and give you half a foot of seas, even on a beautiful day.

From this point north, mangroves are not as prevelant as Southwest Florida. You get more sawgrass along the estuary with a flat bottom punctuated by limestone rock that can scratch a yak pretty good.

This day, the tide was almost plus 2.5 feet so we had plenty of water everywhere.

I love late afternoon sunset along the water. The seabreeze was finally starting to subside.

Not as many vacation houses as other parts of Florida and set back from the water more than the communities around Tampa Bay. Aripeka is about 50 miles north of that in Hernando County, Florida

An occasional mangrove still crops up in protected areas.

Some type of ancient rock wall made from limestone boulders. Maybe from the rock quarry nearby.

Sunset over Aripeka gives us a nice silouette shot while we were paddling towards Norfleet's for the take out.

This cat looks too big for the waters in Aripeka and the house across the canal straddles the water.

Norfleet's has a good boat ramp and seemed like a safe place to park the car.

The sign does not lie. The whole area is punctuated by limestone rocks and shallow grass flats.

Another view of the boat launch at Norfleet's

A sunset shot over Aripeka. I paddled just over 5.9 miles so we found heaven!

Sawgrass that is typical of Northwest Florida. Redfish love it for hunting crabs and worms.

A view of the Aripeka cut from the water. Trout filled these grass flats on the way to Norfleets on our way home at high tide but so did pinfish and other bait stealers.

5206 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33617
(813) 868-0007

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Where to Stay

Quality Inn Crystal River
call (813) 868-0007 to book
or email info@vacationtc.com

Sheraton Sand Key Resort
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or email info@vacationtc.com

Mariott Suites
Cleawater Beach

call (813) 868-0007 to book
or email info@vacationtc.com

Best Western
Nature Coast

call (813) 868-0007 to book
or email info@vacationtc.com

5206 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33617
(813) 868-0007

Book your hotel, car and/or
vacation package with us and
the kayak advice is FREE!

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