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Up Shell Creek with a Paddle
Most Florida kayakers and canoeists know the Peace River at Arcadia, but less than a half hour away, there’s a little-known river with scenery and wildlife as splendid as you’ll find in Florida. Shell Creek is about five miles east of Punta Gorda and it deserves to be a destination for kayakers from well beyond its area. You will have to travel several hours to kayak anywhere more beautiful. Shell Creek is easy to access via Hathaway Park, a county park with picnic tables, rest rooms and a good kayak or canoe launch. Use the second entrance to the park where parking is free. Depending on the group and water levels, we can make it as long as we want it to be. I would like to go at least three to four hours on the water, or until we run out of water. It is more of an intermediate paddle because of the distance. No rentals at this location. Sorry! Lunch afterwards at Peace River Seafood for those who work up an appetite! PLEASE, pretty please...if you sign up and then can't make it, take yourself off of the list so anyone on the wait list can move up. Thanks!!

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There are many great places to get out on the water in our area - streams, rivers, lakes, secluded coves, canals, lakes, bays, sounds and the Gulf. In many places the water is shallow and not easily accessible with motor boats but ideally in a kayak. Many enjoy getting away from a hectic lifestyle and relaxing on the water at a slower pace. This is a major benefit of kayaking. But kayaks have other benefits too. They allow us to observe the sub-tropical flora and fauna of the aquatic environment up close without destroying it. Except for the gas needed to get to the launch site, kayakers do not pollute our environment and save a lot of money compared to owners of larger sail or power boats. New kayaks are available for as little as $250. But you can pay $2,000 if you'd like something special. People without kayaks are also welcome. Many of our outings start at locations with kayak rentals or you can pick one up along the way. Our outings are suitable for kayakers of all levels. So, come join us and bring some friends with you.

Besides the outings planned by our organizers, all members can now post events. We do not screen these persons nor have we checked out their kayaking abilities. Regardless of who organizes and posts an event, when you take part you alone are responsible for your safety. Kayaking can be dangerous. Become aware of the dangers of wind, waves, currents, wakes from big boats, sun and heat. Make sure you have a personal flotation device with you. A whistle and flares are good in case you need to get attention to get help. Take food, water and sun block. Be ready to turn back if you no longer feel comfortable in a situation. No other person knows better what your limits are than you. Realize that risk can not be eliminated totally. Storms with strong winds, big waves and driving rain can develop quickly. Pay attention to changes in the weather and head for shore where you can wait safely until it has passed. Being out a long way from shore is risky because kayaks can not travel quick enough to get to shore when a storm develops. For that reason it is always safest to paddle fairly close to shore so that it can be reached in just a couple minutes if necessary.

Kayaking is fun. Kayaking with others can be even more fun. Come get involved and take part. But always remember: You are responsible for yourself. Know your limitations, paddle at your own risk. See you on the water :-)

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