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Up the creek with a paddle

By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch


Fort Pierce, FL – When I started coming to the Treasure Coast in the mid-1970s I got hooked on kayaking. I don't own a kayak. I rent them and go by myself or with a group on an excursion put together by a commercial outfit or a nature center. On a group excursion, I stay close to the guide to hear about the flora and fauna we encounter. I've kayaked on the Indian River Lagoon north and south of Vero Beach. I've been up the St. Sebastian River and around Pelican Island. I want to explore the waters farther south on the Treasure Coast. Once when I was paddling in Bethel Creek, something bumped against my kayak. A dolphin! Then another dolphin surfaced ahead of me. Then a third dolphin surfaced off to my right. For about 20 minutes, the creatures swam around me. I laughed out loud. What a treat! Kayaking is good exercise without exhausting you. For me, the toughest part is getting out of the craft. I put on sun blocker, wear a floatation vest and a hat with a wide brim, and bring a bottle of water. One safety rule I often break is "don't kayak alone." When I'm by myself, I stay out of the Intracoastal Waterway and other deep water. Elsewhere, the average depth of the Indian River Lagoon is only about three feet. If I ever capsize, I'll just stand up. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.

Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.