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Island seniors kayaked to Picnic Island

By Staff | Jul 14, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, a handful of individuals departed from the Sanibel Causeway to participate in the Center 4 Life Tuesday Kayaking adventure. The two-hour adventure took them to Picnic Island. MEGHAN MCCOY

Interested participants began gathering shortly after 8 a.m. last week at the Center 4 Life to join the bi-weekly Tuesday Kayaking trip, which this time launched from the Sanibel Causeway.

As staff began loading double and single kayaks onto a trailer, about a half a dozen seniors met inside the Center 4 Life sharing how their weekend went before a few rules were discussed of the kayaking trip.

The Tuesday, July 5, adventure took the seniors from the Sanibel Causeway to Picnic Island during a two hour journey. Depending on the tides, the trip back to the causeway may have started earlier than planned that morning, so the paddle would not be too difficult.

“We go for two hours,” Carol Strange, one of the two leaders, said. “We will get out there and go around the whole island.”

She said they were going to collect trash along their journey that may not have been found by the city after the July 4 celebration.

“It is really wonderful,” she said of the kayaking trip.

There are as many as 30 leaders who plan a new destination for the kayaking trip, who are CPR and First Aid certified. During season the trips are scheduled on a weekly basis, while during the summer months its held every other Tuesday.

“During season we have a waiting list,” Amy Eposito-Brown, Center 4 Life seniors program recreation assistant, said.

She said the leaders meet during the busy months and start planning the launch sites. Eposito-Brown said they have records going back to 2014 of some of the launch locations if the leaders need ideas for different places.

“There are lots of places to go, the canals and rivers,” Strange said.

In addition to the two leaders for each kayaking trip, Eposito-Brown said they also have a “sweep,” individuals who pushes the rest of the group along.

The next trip is scheduled for Tuesday, July 19, at 8:30 a.m., which will launch from Dixie Beach. Those interested in participating have to register ahead of time by calling the Center 4 Life at (239) 472-5743. It is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers.There is enough space for 16 participants, due to the Island Seniors, Inc. having eight two-person kayaks.

Island Seniors supplies the kayaks, paddles and life jackets, and participants are encouraged to bring water, a small snack, suntan lotion, bug spray, sunglasses, towel, hat and a change of clothing.

Eposito-Brown said each kayak also receives a whistle for safety measures.

Those who join the trips are almost guaranteed to see wildlife as they paddle the waters around Sanibel and Captiva.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.