How many Canadians does it take to navigate a canoe?

Published: April 21st 2012
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We were set to take the day to drive along Highway 1 to Key West and stop and see whatever struck our fancies on the way. Almost immediately, a fancy was struck. (Ouch!) (And yes, I am fully aware of how lame that joke was). We stopped at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Parkwhich has mostly water-based activities (the "coral reef" part gave it away didn’t it?). We decided to rent a canoe, and being good Canadian girls confident in our practically genetic mastery of the paddle, headed out with a map to canoe along some trails through the mangrove swamp.

We started by heading out through the marina, then along the edge of the marina, then out into the middle of the marina again. Back to the edge, middle, almost into a boat, behind the dock…crap. Where is the frickin’ way into the mangroves? We passed the map back and forth a few times before the horrible realization struck us that we couldn’t find our way out of the marina. Sigh. My pride hurt (national and otherwise) we skulked back to the canoe dock to get some pointers and once the obvious was made even more clear we managed to j-stroke (that’s a real canoe thing, by the way) our way to the entrance of the trail.

I would love to be able to tell you that once we got into the mangrove swamp that we had no trouble following the trail. I would love to tell you that our map reading skills had vastly improved since the marina incident. Instead I’ll say this: paddle a canoe – no problem. Read a map – no chance.

We had virtually no clue where we were at any given time (I think. It’s possible we might have blindly lucked into a correct guess at some point). However, after an actually delightful hour of some excellent (but perplexing) canoeing, we managed to hit some open water that confirmed our location, allowing us to find our way safely back.

I maintain the map was not good. And the sun was in our eyes. And nature is confusing.

Next: Nothing here but us chickens…

Additional photos below
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On highway 1 On highway 1
On highway 1

heading for Key West
Mrs. Mac's KitchenMrs. Mac's Kitchen
Mrs. Mac's Kitchen

Pit stop for lunch

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