To Monkey Island – and Beyond!

When our good friends Jeff and Marilyn suggested taking our kayaks to Monkey Island, I had images of a tropical island with exotic monkeys in their natural habitat. When we arrived, and were scouting out launching and parking spots, Jeff said “Look, there’s Monkey Island!” Sure enough, about a hundred feet from the shore was a tiny island, filled with larger versions of the stuff some folks put in their Goldfish bowls. The island is small, and pretty tacky… but we did see 3 or 4 actual Monkeys.

The good news was that Monkey Island wasn’t the whole destination… there was a lot of river to explore past the island.

We watched an Osprey dive from amazingly high in the air, into the water and come out with a fish about the same size as he is. This isn’t the most perfectly focused picture, but I felt lucky to catch it at all.

I’ve always thought Wood Ducks are amazingly beautiful, and we got to see several of them.

The further upriver we got, the clearer the water became. Finally only a couple of feet deep, it looked like swimming pool water!

In one secluded lagoon, a Pelican swooped in for a landing fairly close to our kayaks. Surprisingly, he didn’t swim or fly away as we approached, and in fact swam closer to us. We got a very close look at our friendly Pelican!

He seemed to be posing for us, so I had to take a few pictures…

Here’s a guy using his chainsaw to turn a dead tree into wild birds.

This area was settled long before there were city water systems. Near the dock where we put in is this cistern, built in the 1920’s. There was originally a store next to it, and it was placed so water could flow from the second floor roof into this 9,000 gallon cistern. Locals used the water for cooking and drinking, but got cleaning water from the river.

A little ways down the road are the ruins of a sugar mill. Sugar cane was run through huge rollers, and the juice was captured and treated in large basins.

Here’s a little video about the Awesome Exploration of Monkey Island! It includes a quick glance at a huge fish – an Alligator Gar. We saw a few Manatees, but only one got properly posed in front of my camera. I’ve also included a shot of the flippers of a Hobie Kayak (shot while Cherryl was not pedaling) and one of a far different watercraft than our kayaks.

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