Green Wave Forum

Canaveral National Seashore Report
(Mosquito Lagoon)

View: More Canaveral National Seashore reports, Central FL Locations 

Report By:  Unknown    Date: 3/7/2010 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 23 photos     Map & Directions: View

Variety, they say, is the spice of life. I varied my usual Mosquito Lagoon paddle and explored waters I had not paddled before, discovering a large wading bird feeding area on the south end of Shipyard Island.

My Report:

My usual Mosquito Lagoon paddle, described in previous reports, has a basic pattern. Launching at Parking Lot 7, paddling north along the east shore, going in or out of the islands closest to shore depending on the tide, passing Turtle Mound, crossing the Lagoon to Shipyard Island, paddling the marked trail, tide permitting, sometimes continuing north, across the Lagoon, out of the National Seashore, to Bethune Park, back to the launch site at Lot 7, and time and energy permitting, south to Castle Windy.

This time, I changed that pattern. I wanted to investigate some of the campsites in the Lagoon. 12 primitive sites are run by the National Park Service. I wanted to visit a few and find out how ďprimitiveĒ they are for future camping trips. I thought it best to find the sites with an empty kayak, before setting out in a fully laden vessel.

As I was prepared to launch, a group of paddlers came in. As luck would have it, they had spent the night at the Orange Island campsite, my first destination. They told be it was to the right of a mangrove restoration area. They learned the hard way, having turned left when they reached the Island, paddling all the way around, ending up, almost, where they had started. I was pushed off by one of the campers, and set a northwesterly course to Orange Island. A few small islands lay between the launch site and Orange Island, the latter is distinguished by tall trees. I paddled outside the smaller islands, the passages in between looked to shallow. I saw the mangrove restoration area, a lot of which is going on in the National Seashore, look for the PCV pipes, saw the small campsite marker, and landed. A nice, shady site, fire pit, picnic table with a lamp pole in the center of the table. I think it the nicest site of the three I would visit. The site is the shortest paddle of the three I investigated, a plus. Best to unload yak quickly, then have hours to explore.

Back in the yak, I paddled along the east shore of the curvy Island, then paddled northeast through another series of small islands. I had an old map of the Lagoon, showing where the 11 campsites are. Yes, I did write there are 12. There now is a second site on Orange Island, the Homestead site. I must have turned away from the Island before I reached it.

The water level between the islands was shallow and clear. Somehow, I found the right way through, never grounding the yak. Nothing too exciting in the animal kingdom, reddish egret, royal tern, some distant white pelicans. Until, I entered an area, on the south end of Shipyard Island, that made my day. Eight white pelicans paddling on the surface. Near shore, a reddish egret danced in the shallow water, drawing fish under the shade of its wings, then with a snap of neck and stab of beak, scarfing down its prey. Ibis, curved bill probing the bottom. The highlight, a flock of rosette spoonbills, spatulate beaks sweeping back and forth as they walked deliberately against the wind blown waters, filtering whatever came their way. The most spoonbills I have seen in this part of Mosquito Lagoon.

Speaking of wind, it seemed to be blowing a lot harder then the 5-10 knots reported on my NOAA Weather Radio when I woke up. Out of the north, the general direction I was paddling. Fortunately, I avoided the worst of it as I paddled between islands. And through an island, Shipyard. A marked paddling trail winds through the Island. The entrance is on the east side of the Island, across from the boat ramp. Boat ramp, not kayak launch site, but of course you can launch there if you desire. I entered Shipyard from the south, seeing marker number 7, and proceeding through the island. Ibis, raccoons, snowy and great egrets. Even with a map, and a lot of experience paddling the Trail, it is confusing. I came to a T intersection. I went left which took me off the Trail. But, in a good way as it took me out of Shipyard Island, on the north side, where two campsites are located. The Shipyard and Headwinds sites have the same picnic table and fire ring. The ring at the Shipyard site was full of beer cans and empty gallon water containers. The closest site on the east side of the Lagoon to private property, perhaps locals frequent it. I left it as is. Made up for it later, picking up trash at two other locations. Camping at these two sites, the best launch site would be the boat ramp. J.Bís Fish Camp may be another
option, I donít know if they allow overnight parking. It never hurts to ask.

Camp site investigation complete, I paddled east across the Lagoon, out of the Seashore boundary, past a sandbar full of gulls, cormorants, and brown pelicans. To the cove and overlook at Mary Bethune Park. Home to manatees in warm weather. None today. Now, I turned the kayak east and the wind blew me through the year round manatee zone, inside a long island,past J.B.ís Fish Camp and the homes off the fortunate. Back to the National Seashore waters, taking a lunch break at the base of Turtle Mound. Quite a few people were taking the walk to the top of the midden, I for perhaps the first time ever when it has been open, choose not to. Back in the yak, the wind blew me south. When I landed, a kayaker said his GPS had his speed at 2.5 mph, without paddling. When he lifted his paddle for a correcting stroke, the sail effect boosted his speed to almost 3 mph.

Mosquito Lagoon is a great place to see dolphins. Not this day. I paddled just beyond my launch site, to the Eldora Dock. Here, the main north south flow of the Lagoon meets a major east west channel along the south end of Orange Island. It can be a dolphin crossroads. Not today, but I bet as soon as I turned around they started doing cartwheels behind my back. I landed about 1:00, got the yak on the car. Walked the short, scenic, Hammock Trail, stopped by the visitors center to see if any of the campsites were available this coming Saturday. No. Reservations can only be made a week in advance. A final stop to view the Atlantic. See the seashore. The wind on the Lagoon was nothing compared to what was howling on the beach. Thank goodness for tree covered dunes. Camping Info and Map

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Fees/Costs $: 3.00

Photos from Mosquito Lagoon:    (Click image to view full size)

Orange Island Site No Comm
Orange Island Site
Reddish Egret No Comm
Reddish Egret
Royal Tern No Comm
Royal Tern
White Pelicans No Comm
White Pelicans
Spoonbills landing No Comm
Spoonbills landing
Spoonbills feeding No Comm
Spoonbills feeding
Reddish Egret No Comm
Reddish Egret
Spoonies and Ibis No Comm
Spoonies and Ibis
Wide view No Comm
Wide view
Spoonies No Comm
Ibis & Great egret No Comm
Ibis & Great egret

Shipyard Island

Leaving Shipyard Isl No Comm
Leaving Shipyard Isl
Headwinds site No Comm
Headwinds site
Temorary refuge No Comm
Temorary refuge
Mary Bethune Park No Comm
Mary Bethune Park
Brown Pelicans No Comm
Brown Pelicans
Ducks of some kind No Comm
Ducks of some kind
Willet? No Comm
Cormorant No Comm
Hammock Trail No Comm
Hammock Trail
Atlantic No Comm
Atl from dune xover No Comm
Atl from dune xover
Mos Lag from xover No Comm
Mos Lag from xover

Post Date: 3/8/2010

Go to Unknown's Trip JournalMore Trips and Comments on Canaveral National Seashore
More Central FL LocationsView Regions

Notice: Reported conditions may change and there may be errors in this text. Green Wave Forum and author(s) of individual reports shall not be held liable for any omissions and inaccuracies contained herein. Readers are cautioned to supplement reports with other sources of information when planning a trip.