Morning came. It was
a beautiful sunny September day with calm waters in
Ft. Lauderdale. This would be the morning of my first
Kayak race. I was a little nervous due to the fact that
I’m a novice. The race was sponsored by Full Moon
Kayak Co., an outfitter, and the International Swimming
Hall of Fame (ISHOF), located on the intra coastal waterway
of Fort Lauderdale. Colleen, the owner of Full Moon
Kayak Co., was a gracious host and explained to me a
lot about the race, her business, and history of this
This was the first time
for this race, it was called the Barefoot Mailman Race
in honor of the first postmen of South Florida, those
heroic civil servants that used to run and swim the
canals to deliver mail. The race started at the International
Swimming Hall of Fame and from there headed into the
canals of Ft. Lauderdale, the “Venice” of
the New World. All the kayakers were given maps of the
course and had the option of which direction to go.
Either way was fine, since the shape of the course was
a big circle beginning and ending at the ISHOF and making
its way around the canals of Fort Lauderdale.
one of the slower participants, I was able to enjoy
paddling and took my time finding the checkpoints for
each stop along the way. For me it wasn’t so much
of a race, as a chance to see if I would succeed in
completing the course without falling into the water
or getting lost. Well, at least I didn’t get lost!
At one of the checkpoints,
I had to either roll my kayak and dump myself into the
water or take a time penalty. I chose to dump myself
in the water. Wow, it was really difficult to get back
into the Kayak, but one of the volunteer showed me the
“Cowboy” move and I was eventually able
to straddle my way back into the seat. This move is
important to know, it could save your life.
The race took me about 3 hours to finish and I made
it back to the ISHOF in one piece. I didn’t win
any of the prizes that were awarded at the end, but
I did have the satisfaction of finishing my first kayak
race. After the race, I got to find out more about Full
Moon Kayak, the company and what they did. Here’s
a little of what I learned:
Colleen Gibbs Guido started
Full Moon Kayak Co. in 1998 offering 4 kayak trips a
year for friends and customers. She enjoyed organizing
the trips and news of the trips spread rapidly by word
of mouth. She became a better paddler herself, taking
courses from local kayak instructors and earned an American
Canoe Association certification. The desire to do this
full time was always there but did not happen until
after her trip to Sydney, Australia during the Olympics.
While there she took some guided tours and it was then
that she made her decision to pursue her passion to
become a kayak tour guide. After giving birth to her
first child, she was able to quit her "day job”
and began working full-time at Full Moon Kayak Co. in
Full Moon Kayak Co. offers all kind of guided tours:
The Full Moon Paddle
is a moonlight tour around the canals of Ft. Lauderdale.
This tour started 6 years the name provided the inspiration
for the company name; The Welcome to Ft. Lauderdale
History Tour takes you around the backyards of the homes
in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale where you can learn a little
bit about the city's history and residents, past and
present; The West Lake of Hollywood tour introduces
a 1,600 acre area of waters protected from motorized
boats; The Whiskey Creek of Dania tour, allows you to
paddle around the same waters as the smugglers from
the bootlegging years used to avoid law enforcement.
This tour offers excellent wildlife trail and great
view of Port Everglades. In the winter months, you might
see Manatees on this tour.
Colleen offers other
tours that you need to check out on her website. Go
or call her at 954-328-5231.
The prices of the tours
start at $35 per person and include the cost of the
kayak rental. You’ll need to make your reservations
in advance, and a major credit card will guarantee your
space. Some of the guides understand Spanish and/or
Portuguese to better assist international traveler.
If you’d like to enjoy all of Colleen’s
guided tours, you can always spend a week at the Kayak
Inn where you’ll find the rates very reasonable.
Call them locally at (954) 565-7085 or toll free (877)
There are plenty of great
places to eat along the intra-coastal waterway; Colleen
will show you her favorites. I would recommend stopping
at the Southport Raw bar. You can pull up with your
kayak and get some of the best calm chowder in town.
You can find them at 1536 Cordova Rd. or call (954)
525-CLAM. Say hello to the owner, Buddy, while you’re
The word kayak means
“hunter’s boat”. The kayak was developed
by cultures in the arctic of North America from the
Aleutian Islands to the East coast of Greenland. Archaeologists
have found evidence that indicates kayaks to be at least
4000 years old. Kayaks were originally made of skins
and wood. These
early kayaks were narrow, low volume boats that fit
like a glove so that the paddler could control it and
use it easily for hunting. Today, hunters have replaced
kayaks with motorboats, and kayaking has instead become
a popular recreation activity around the world. Today's
kayaks are made of plastic, composites and wood, and
their designs run the gamut from tight-as-a-glove whitewater
boats to 20 foot long touring kayaks that can carry
several weeks’ worth of provisions. While the
reasons we paddle may have changed, the kayak has remained
a quiet, efficient means of transportation whose design
has stood the test of time.
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it into TropicalAdventure.com and let us post your adventure
on the World Wide Web.
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