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Louisville Area Canoe & Kayak Group Message Board Trip Reports › Indian Pass Campground, Port St Joe, FL, March 2013

Indian Pass Campground, Port St Joe, FL, March 2013

Louisville, KY
Post #: 37
We attempted to paddle the west end of Apalachicola Bay, March 2013. This area is a 65 mile drive from PCB, FL. Our put in was at a public boat ramp and beach at Indian Pass Campgrounds. One half a mile, across the inlet that connects the bay to the gulf is St Vincent’s Island National Wildlife Reserve. Our plan was to paddle 5 miles east to the bay side lagoons of the NWR and explore, then put in on the island and hike to the gulf side on roads and trails there. Winds were mild when we started, less than 5 mph, but after 1.5 miles the winds rose considerably. My guess is that the shallow bay and high winds caused the extremely rough and confused water we were paddling in. Far more difficult than anything we’ve encountered on the Ohio River. We reversed our course and paddled back to St Vincent’s Island boat ramp, across from our put in. Our normal touring rate is 3.5-4 mph and on this brief round trip of less than 3 miles we "achieved" a moving speed of 1.2 mph; tough paddling with tremendous wind resistance on body and paddle. Holding course required a sweep stroke on the left side of the boat with a deep high angle stroke on the right hand side. After we dried off and had a snack we explored the dock side of the island and met one of the NWR rangers who was ending his work day. We accepted his offer to shuttle across the inlet on the equipment ferry to avoid winds in the inlet. If he hadn’t arrived we were going to carry our boats up the shore toward the gulf and launch downwind toward the put in; glad we didn’t have to do that. When we arrived at the put in the winds laid and the bay became calm again. Not sure how to plan for these conditions, but low wind forecasts would seem the best time to go. We saw about a dozen dolphin feeding close to shore; some breaking water completely driving prey in toward shore for others to catch. This is a place that I want to visit again, in calmer conditions. Be sure to stop at Indian Pass Raw Bar @ 30A and Indian Pass Rd. for, As fresh as you can get Apalachicola oysters.
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