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FIN EXPEDITIONS PHOTOS
After dark during the summer months, the lagoon offers a spectacular
bioluminescence light show thought to be one of the best places in the
world to experience the phenomenon.
RIVER LIGHT SHOW
McWilliams leads trips on the Sebastian River and the southern
Indian River Lagoon. My group paddled out to Bird Island, which
is a bird sanctuary just offshore from Micco.
After dark during the summer months, the lagoon offers a
spectacular bioluminescence light show. Your kayak paddle
stroke triggers a chemical reaction in the algae that causes it to
glow. The phenomenon is usually seen when the water is warm
and algae are more prevalent. The Indian River Lagoon is one
of the best places in the world to experience this dazzling light
show. Fin Expeditions offers sunset-bioluminescence tours from
its launch site at the Cocoa Beach Country Club.
The lagoon is a vast expanse of open water. Kayaking can be
difficult when the wind picks up. It’s important to be aware of
the conditions and know your limits. A life jacket is required on
each kayak, and some outfitters require you to wear them. In my
opinion, wearing one is smart because I’ve had experience trying
to put one on while treading in deep water. It isn’t easy.
A wide brimmed hat, sunscreen and bottled water are essential
when kayaking. I usually wear a lightweight long-sleeved shirt to
protect from the sun.
LONG VS. SHORT
There are two types of kayaks: sit-in and sit-on-top. The sit-in
keeps you dryer. The sit-on-top is usually wider and more stable,
but figure your butt is going to get wet. I like the sit-on-top for
recreational paddling because it’s easier to get in and out of. If
you’re doing a long paddle or going kayak camping, a sit-in
kayak with front and back hatches is a better choice.
Kayaks are often outfitted for fishing, with rod holder
brackets. Fishing kayaks are usually sit-on-top kayaks.
The length of the kayak is important. The longer the boat the
straighter line it will track, and the faster you can go. Most
commonly boats are about 12 feet long for recreational use.
There is nothing inherently dangerous about kayaking. The
lagoon waters are usually calm and in most places, not very
deep. In the unlikely event that you should spill, in most
areas you can just stand up.
Safety is always a concern
when on the water and all
kayakers wear life jackets in
case they take an accidental
dip in the lagoon.
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The main thing to watch for is the wind. Close to shore you
are protected by mangroves. Out in the open water you
have to contend with wind and choppy waves. It can make
A lot has been made in recent years about the effort to clean
up the lagoon’s waters and get seagrass to grow again on
the bottom, making it a better habitat for manatees and
other marine animals. Even so, the lagoon is a tremendous
asset and kayaking is just one way to take advantage of this
watery resource nature has provided.