Paddling Excursions

Southwest Florida is a paddler’s paradise. Our calm waters and diverse ecosystems provide the perfect setting for ocean exploration by stand up paddleboard or kayak. Sanibel Sea School’s paddling excursions are two and a half to three hours long. They include paddling instruction from a certified SUP Instructor, which covers the basic skills necessary to enjoy your experience, followed by a paddle-based excursion into the ecosystems of Southwest Florida. Are you unsure about proper paddling techniques, or do you hope to discover what’s “out there” in the ocean from the comfort of your own quiet vessel? Then this is the program for you!

Why is paddling a perfect way to experience the ocean?

  • It allows you a far line of sight and an ideal view of the water below you
  • It’s quiet, so you are less likely to disturb wildlife
  • It’s easy to learn
  • It’s fun
  • It’s a great form of exercise

Introduction to Coastal Ecosystems

This is Sanibel Sea School’s sea survey course – a great way to see three major coastal ecosystems in one outing and observe how they interact in a truly unique way. Mangroves, seagrasses and beaches are entirely dependent upon each other, and provide habitat for a diverse array of marine creatures. During this excursion, we will paddle a cross section of these areas to discover first-hand how they are connected, and we will surely spot some wildlife along the way. By the end of this paddle, you will have a new appreciation for how integral these three ecosystems are to our state and our planet.

Into the Seagrass

Often called the nurseries of the ocean, seagrass beds thrive in calm, clear, shallow waters – conditions that also happen to be great for paddling! Sheltered from the strong currents and large waves of the open ocean, this ecosystem provides habitat for a remarkable number of marine organisms, making it a fantastic place to examine the marine food web in action. On this excursion, if we’re quiet, we might observe cannibalistic gastropods, juvenile fish seeking shelter from predators, and wading birds on the hunt for dinner. Sometimes we glimpse sharks and rays as they pass by our vessels. From a biologist’s perspective, we will consider just how much life there is to discover as we glide through the blades of grass. 

Mangroves

Have you thanked the mangroves lately? In addition to providing a home for birds, crustaceans, bivalves, and so many more marine creatures, these prehistoric, salt-loving trees also protect humans by stabilizing our shorelines and sheltering us from waves and storms. On this paddle, we will drift through a breathtaking mangrove forest as we search for resident wildlife, use our senses to differentiate between Southwest Florida’s four native mangrove species, and learn why these “walking trees” are so important to the long-term health of our coast.


Private Paddling Sessions 

Stand up paddling is a fantastic, fun way for friends and families with older children to explore the ocean together. Led by an ACA-certified instructor and tailored to your interests and abilities, private paddling sessions at Sanibel Sea School offer an opportunity for your group to enjoy an active experience on the water while you observe and learn about Southwest Florida’s unique flora and fauna. All of our paddling instructors are also trained marine educators who are eager to share their knowledge with you.  

Private paddling sessions will begin with an evaluation of your skills, and your group leader will provide any necessary instruction to ensure that each member of your party is able to paddle comfortably and safely. Next, you will venture out into the Florida ecosystem of your choice to discover the fascinating creatures and habitats that await you. If there are topics or animals that are of particular interest to you, please let us know before your program. We are always happy to customize the experience for you, or to offer suggestions that you might like.

Our private paddling sessions are 3 hours long and cost $100 per person, with a two person minimum. We recommend this course for individuals sixteen years of age or older. Call (239) 472-8585 or email info@sanibelseaschool.org today and let us plan the perfect paddleboard-based adventure for your group.

 


Ocean Tribe Paddling Club

Our monthly meet-ups are a great opportunity to go for a relaxed group paddle, share paddling tips and ideas, and meet new friends to paddle with. Just bring your favorite paddling equipment - kayaks, canoes, SUPs, etc. are all welcome! Questions? Email oceantribepaddlers@sanibelseaschool.org

Please visit oceantribepaddlers.org or follow us on Facebook for more details about upcoming events!