Waterways still hold many secrets, because the pressure below the surface deters manned vessels and darkness makes it hard to read the diaries found there. Explore aquatic mysteries with this Groupon.
$20 for a 2.5-Hour Kayak Tour (Up to $49 Value)
Excursions include the Exotic Mangrove Tour, during which kayakers navigate dense mangrove tunnels across the waterways of Emerson Point nature reserve, as well as a manatee-watching tour. Guides Michelle and Mark answer mysteries about the local ecosystem, and participants may peer down through shallow waters to catch glimpses of conches, starfish, and sand dollars. Depending on water levels and the time of day, they may also encounter inquisitive manatees and dolphins. Michelle and Mark eschew strict structure on their tours, giving participants open-ended directions and pointing out occasional sights, such as birds of prey or secret poker games between birds of prey. Each tour includes a kayak, a lifejacket, and a paddle, and though tours normally last up to 2.5 hours, time spent on the water may vary.
Shan-T Native Kayak Tours
When a family of five wanted to go on a kayak tour, they assumed their daughter with Down's syndrome couldn't come along. But Shan-T co-owner Michelle Thorpe assured them she could, and invited her along in her own tandem kayak. Once on the water, the girl immediately took charge, joyfully taking over paddling. Michelle and her husband Mark had always searched for a way to conduct fun, physical, outdoor activities that would accommodate people with special needs, including their daughter with Asperger's and their niece who is autistic. Taking advantage of the therapeutic nature of the area's calm waters, Shan-T provides a way for just about everyone to commune with nature. The couple operates their tours intimately, using no more than 15 boats per group so that wilderness smells and the sounds of lapping waves are prevalent throughout their adventures.
The pair leads their tours through secluded, often shallow waterways and wildlife-rich areas aboard ocean-style kayaks with open tops for easy boarding and egress. They sometimes allow participants to use the boats as standup paddleboards on which participants can stretch their legs or reach up to scratch head itches with overhanging branches. On each tour, guides stress the fragility of the local ecosystem, highlighting issues such as baby fish growing up inside discarded soda cans and dolphins consuming floating plastic bags. In response, participants often pick up any refuse they see, with tours in the past becoming scavenger hunts to help clean the secluded waterways and to see who can find the most Gene Simmons solo albums. On many of these trips, kayakers have encountered manatees up close, sometimes when they brush up against the boats to scratch their backs and bellies.