Weedon Island Exploration

Weedon Island Preserve, named for Dr. Leslie Washington Weedon, (about whom I could find little information other than he was also an amateur archaeologist) is a little over 3,000 acres of natural land on the west side of Tampa Bay. In the 1920’s it was the site of an airport served by Pitcairn Aviation, a forerunner of Eastern Airlines. They had flights to New York, Miami and Washington D.C. The airport closed sometime in the 30’s, and the abandoned buildings were taken down and the area designated a nature preserve in the late 80’s.

We headed there with our friends Jeff & Marilyn, in our matching kayaks. There is a kayak trail set up, to guide you through lots of mangrove tunnels.

We saw lots of mangroves, and had fun following tight little canals between them. We saw far less wildlife than we have on other trips.

Jeff and Marilyn

Matching kayaks where we got out for a stroll

We chose to head out of the trail for a bit to see Tampa Bay.

Some of the trails got shallow enough we had to use our paddles… our foot pedal propulsion, the Mirage drives, draw about a foot of water, forcing us to resort to paddles when the clearance is less than that (like hundreds of roots 6 inches down.)

Here is a short video, in which mostly nothing happens… just gliding through mangrove tunnels. Watch it if you need two minutes of rest.

Most every day we take a long walk (or run) through some interesting territory. There is a “river” nearby – really part of a water conservation system. Every day we see several interesting birds: Anhinga, Ibis, Herons and more. Today a Bald Eagle swooped down in front of us as if to land, then thought better of it and flew away, He was maybe 15 feet from us! Huge Bird!

We also regularly see Alligators in the river. Usually they are on the other side, sunning themselves on the bank. We almost never see people walking over there, so maybe the ‘gators like the quiet. But one time we saw one on our side of the water. They say how you can estimate their length: the distance between their eyes in inches tells you their length in feet. Good to know, but getting them to hold still while you measure between their eyes seems problematic…

We also regularly pass by a home where this little donkey lives. He was extremely skittish at first, but I have tried hard to get him used to me… now when I come by, I clap and he comes to the fence to say hello. I can scratch his forehead and ears for a minute and then we are done. One day I was thinking of something else, and almost passed him by, and he brayed loudly at me!


    • I’ve definitely thought about it… but I hesitate to feed someone else’s animal without permission.

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