Naples, FL: Kayaking on the Gulf of Mexico

I had a couple of days in between Winter Term and our spring semester before classes started back up. Dad asked if I wanted to join him for his conference in Naples again this year, and the dates happened to be the exact days that I had off. Coincidence? I can't really say no to Naples so off I went. I had a lot of work to do, actually, but work is easier by the ocean and/or pool.

I did find some time to not be working :) The weather was actually not that great for most of the trip (rainy and windy), but finally Saturday morning the sun came out and it warmed up to around 70 degrees. I decided to go kayaking on the Gulf of Mexico while Dad was in his conference.


On the beach near the hotel was a stand (Naples Beach WaterSports) where you could rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards, wave runners, etc. (and also could sign up for parasailing, but it wasn't available this day). They opened at 10am (which is different from the sign that says 9); I was there about 9:45 and instead of waiting around, came back about 10:30. The guys working were nice enough and got me all set up with a single person kayak and life jacket (and waiver form signed) within a few minutes. I put my stuff - towels, shoes, cover up - in a cubby and put my phone, ID, and money in my newest water toy, a FRiEQ waterproof case*. I bought one several months ago when I saw it had a good coupon code pointed out by Lifehacker (it was $6) but hadn't used it until this trip. It was totally worth the $6. I put my phone (and usually my ID and a credit card - that was about all it could hold) in it almost every time we went to the beach, and nothing got wet or sandy. I was very pleased. Not sure it will replace my GoPro (which I forgot at home) at least for water sports, but it will let me bring my phone along and not worry about it getting wet. But all the photos you see once I get in the kayak are from my phone inside its waterproof case.




Getting into the kayak and out to sea was fun. As I was getting ready to get in, they asked, "Have you ever done this before?". Well, not in the Gulf, I replied, but I have been kayaking. Not sure what they would have done with me if I had said no! But one of the guys held the kayak and I got in, then he helped push me out while I also used my oar to get out. Getting over the crashing waves took a little bit of effort (although not as much as I expected) and then I was out on the ocean.


I was instructed to stay within about 50 yards of the shore (the swim zone), and that is what I did. My dad says I look like I'm much further out to sea in the photos but I promise I was in line with the orange bobbers that designate the swimming area :)


The cost to rent the kayak was $30 for an hour, which is a lot if you're used to renting on lakes (at Griffy in Bloomington it's $7/hr, for instance, and on Monroe it's $15/hr), but I thought it was pretty fair for the ocean. An hour is a long time when you are fighting waves. But I had a really great time and am glad I took advantage of the sunshine to get out on the water.


Looking north up the shoreline from Vanderbilt Beach, where I started. I made it almost to those trees (mangroves) you see next to the tallest building in about 30-ish minutes. Then I turned around since I wasn't sure how long it would take my tired arms to get back.


(One thing about the FRiEQ - I had no idea about water spots over the lens area. So a lot of photos wind up being kind of bad because of that; sorry!)


This view is looking south back toward the rental area and our hotel. It took me about 20 minutes to get back, with frequent stops.


The two most fun parts of kayaking were sitting on top of waves coming in and kayak surfing on my way in to shore. If you get a chance to kayak in the ocean (or a really large lake with waves) try it out!


* That's an Amazon affiliate link. I would never link to something I didn't actually use and like. This thing is awesome!
Naples, FL: Kayaking on the Gulf of Mexico Naples, FL: Kayaking on the Gulf of Mexico Reviewed by Maria on 10:13:00 PM Rating: 5

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