How We Survived A Close Encounter With An Alligator

Why We Decided Kayaking in the Dark Was a Good Idea

Driving an hour and a half to kayak in the dark is not something we do every day. We decided, for the sake of this blog and our craving for adventure, we were going to get out of our comfort zone and try something new!

Cue numerous Google searches for things to do in Florida. I, the mighty fine Googler that I am, found Adventures in Florida and the Bioluminescence Paddle tour.

You may have seen that photo floating around Pinterest of the glowing algae in Puerto Rico. To our surprise, you can find that same algae in Florida during the summer months! It's basically little organisms that produce light when disturbed.

The Point of No Return

We met up with nine other people (total strangers) and our tour guide, Dave, at Kelly Park on Merritt Island as the sun was setting. As the sky faded from a pale purple to a deep indigo, we got in our kayaks and headed out into the black water.

During the summer (or anytime, reallyI'm not a fish expert), schools of mullet fish like to frantically jump out of the water into the air. Flying fish seemed like quite the attraction until we realized what was happening. Each mullet fish caused a little neon sparkle in the water and into the air. As we continued through the shallow water into a darker area, the tiny wakes streaming around our paddles glowed neon blue.

At this point, I'm sure you're wondering where the heck the photos of the glowing water are. I'm right there with you. I didn't bring my DSLR since we were inches from the water, and the GoPro just shows a glowing red recording light. If you are interested to see what the glowing water looks like, check this video out. 

As we continued to paddle, we see lights like shooting stars erupt underneath us. It's like the fish version of Tron. Slightly frightening to be sitting in the middle of dark water and seeing how many moving, squirming things are really in there.

Where It Gets Interesting

As we were chatting, we noticed a small branch sticking out of the water ahead. (This is the point where all true Floridians start to chuckle). We were moving quickly and figured we would brush past it. Nope. Inches away from the branch, two little eyes shut and this so-called branch launches under Chelsea's boat. Loud slapping and banging ensues as the ALLIGATOR shakes beneath the boat, lighting up the water and illuminating its magnificent, horrifying, reptilian shape.

Now get this...the alligator shot forward ahead of us and it happened all over again!

Aside from dodging a fist-to-tail battle with an alligator, the tour rocked. The guide made us feel safe (meh, he couldn't control that alligator's route) and the hours you spend on the water are well worth the price. It even made us realize how much we liked kayaking (we just purchased two awesome LifeTime Kayaks). If you're in the mood for an adventure that you will never forget, head over to Adventures in Florida and book an awesome bioluminescence paddle trip!