Paddling the Turner River in a whitewater play boat with the South Florida Paddlers group!

Doing it wrong, again! 😉

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Paddling the popular Turner River in SW Florida is always a treat and a must do for any South Florida paddler. Recently I had an opportunity to paddle the full length from Tamiami Trail (Hwy 41) down to Chokoloskee on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. What better way to run it than with a new-to-me white water play boat on the slowly moving river!
While flat water is not what boats like this are made for, 8 miles of test paddling it offered me an extra challenge and insights into fit and tracking limits of a 6.5 foot non-directional boat. This little boat is a Perception “Full Tilt” acquired from Miami’s Adventure Sports. It’s from 2002, in excellent shape, and is in fact the very last river boat model from Perception. This style of boat is new to me and the Full Tilt handles like no other kayak I’ve ever paddled before. Previously my river boat experience was with a 10ft Prijon Twister which still has a bow and a stern! The Perception play boat has neither and it really feels like you’re just sitting in a seat tub. But put this boat into moving water and all those surfaces on the stub bow and stern will grab the water allowing me to learn new tricks in the ocean! 🙂

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flex maslan kayakfari paddle kayak surf zone full tilt perception whitewater ocean south florida beach

My Perception “Full Tilt” whitewater play boat sideways on the back of my old pickup.
I am eager to learn the ways of this lil boat playing in the ocean!

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The Turner River is possibly the most popular paddling trail in the Everglades ecosystem. A part of it is inside the Big Cypress National Preserve and then Everglades National Park itself paddling due south. It’s famous for the tight mangrove tunnels and with my very short 6.5 foot boat I could paddle those sideways!

There is a small Palm tree hammock complete with picnic tables which was very busy on this particular day. Many people choose to paddle about halfway towards the Gulf and then return to the launch point on Hwy 41 (Tamiami Trail). This avoids having to shuttle vehicles, and it is the most interesting and scenic part. Our group did a full run through of about 8.5 miles down to Chokoloskee.

My initial plan was to paddle 11 miles to Everglades City, but I decided that eight miles was enough and took up David on his offer to shuttle me back to my car. It’s not that I couldn’t paddle more, just that it would have taken at least another hour of more flat water paddling. Then I would not have been able to join the rest of the group for an early dinner /  late lunch as it were! This little boat cruises at about 2 miles per hour with sustained effort as it has no glide in flat water. I was able to paddle it with my knees up inside the coming since no bracing was ever needed. The seating proved comfortable even after 5 hours or so. Now I’m really looking forward to playing it in the ocean! 🙂

The baby Alien was a gift from local paddler, adventurer and hiker extraordinaire Leah Harman of Twig Adventures. Possibly the first time an Alien did the Turner River, well except for that one time ..

Who knows, maybe there will be more Aliens next time!!

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BIG thanks to David Chen of the South Florida Paddlers for organizing!
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#Everglades #SouthFloridaPaddlers #TurnerRiver

#kayakfari

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Previously on the Turner River – a tidal sandbar near the mouth of the river:

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“All things great and small on the Turner River”
CLICK for an interactive panorama!

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Enjoy!

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! BLESS – Feel Irie

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© 2020 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com . All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

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The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

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With that said..
Blessings friends!

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