Mosquito Lagoon Report
(Mosquito Lagoon)

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Report By:  gbailey    Date: 1/27/2006 
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Mosquito Lagoon camping trip

My Report:

by Franklin Dickinson

Mabel, Gus, Robert and I met after work on a Friday. We planned to kayak to the southern most island (that you can camp on) in the Mosquito Lagoon. Mabel, the paddling machine and trip planner extraordinaire (second only to our Great Leader Greg) had gone over from Orlando the prior week to secure this very popular site and scout the area out. We later met several campers (on an island further north of ours) who were bemoaning the fact that we had gotten that camp site. I understood why they felt that way as our views were truly incredible. For the first night, we had initially planned to camp by the “Put In” in a very nice local area campground. (Mabel had secured reservations at this campground also.) That camping area was of course on the main land and open to everybody and anybody with a reservation. We all arrived about four o’clock that afternoon. As a group we agreed we did not want to set up camp, in order to then take it back down again the next morning, so we decided to paddle the five miles south to our island campground in the dark. Paddling after dark to one small island in a group of about twenty islands could of course have been a problem but Mabel had emailed me the island’s lat. and long. coordinates a week earlier, all was well. We were supposed to have a beautiful full moon paddle but a major “regional” cold front was just starting to come through. That front ushered in mid thirty degree temperatures, storms and high winds. Mabel, ever ambitious and optimistic loaded up a ten foot rubber raft with about two hundred pounds of fire wood. We were going to have fires every night! (Special note here to all the members, always invite Mabel on camping trips. You will stay warmer and eat better. There is nothing she can’t do and the three men took her to test…we happily volunteered to let her do it all. We’re good like that. We three men can proudly state we are equal opportunists (or just opportunists). Life was good on that island). Mabel also covered her precious load with two very large tarps. The word large used here is an understatement as I’m sure Mabel acquired these tarps from FEMA (they were blue and could have covered the roof of a large house). As we started paddling south Friday night, a very large line of storms appeared on the horizon. We kept paddling. Mabel, flanked by her rugged male cohorts was ever popular with the locals on area piers and bulkheads. People applauded and yelled encouragement to her as she paddled by, pulling her large load behind her. Here in “the south”, we three guys got quite a few “adaboys” from the male counterparts along the river. Gus and Robert responded to these men, who were also elbowing “their women” as they pointed at Mabel, “she cooks and cleans too”. We weren’t lying! The locals, I could tell, were very envious of us “lucky three” they saw paddling with this extraordinary woman. Sadly, soon after, the first of many many lighting strikes started streaking across the sky all around us. This was made even more unsettling by the chest shaking booms that accompanied the strikes, this was not good. Typical of all the brave members in our club, we scattered like roaches when the lights are turned on. Poor Mabel was left all alone. I don’t remember if any of the guys ever even looked back, oh well, it was after all, Mabel, a little lightning wouldn’t hurt her. It might actually be good for her. You see, we were doing her a favor. At least that’s what I believe the three of us believed. By the time she made it to the island we three men had “panic paddled” to, the three of us were dry and happily under an eight by ten foot tarp. We marveled at the sight, sensations on our head and sounds made by the marble sized hail currently assaulting us. I wonder how Mabel was doing out there? Like sheep not seeing any danger ahead, we felt very secure until we lifted up the tarp and looked outside, then reality struck with every lightning strike. Eventually the storm front passed, leaving us with a black, moonless night. With Mabel (and tow), we managed an impressive two miles per hour as we paddled south. As time went by, Gus and/or Robert constantly instructed me that I was lost and off course. That we should stop at the next island “because surely that WAS the correct island”. Eventually we did arrive at the proper island just as Mabel’s coordinates said we would. God bless GPS’s. The time was eleven o’clock. We helped each other get our boats out of the water and then spread out to “spy” the land for the best possible camping site. With the knowledge that the next day was going to bring thirty M.P.H. winds from the northwest we chose to camp on the southeast part of the island. I think boaters would call this the “lee” side. That was a good move (thank you very much). The next day we had a steady thirty M.P.H. “breeze” with consistent gusts to thirty seven. Impressively, we had a wind spike to 47 mph (the wind’s power had almost instantly transformed this normally placid water into a real “spectacle of awe”! The winds power was truly awesome and once again nature had shown us that she was not to be taken for granted. This reminded us of the importance of preparation and we each were glad that Dana and the Club insisted on training and on emergency preparedness). There are only a few people in our club who I believe could paddle in these conditions and who would have the gumption to do so. Mabel is one of them. Mabel in her skinny race boat paddled into this wind (on her port bow as she paddled back to the put in) and against the current. She had left something and she wanted it! Typical of Mabel who has the “all things are possible mentality”.

As before, while Mabel was gone, the three men (Gus, Robert and me) did what I believe we do best…nothing. Gus fished, Robert ate and rested and I read while watching Gus and Robert do “nothing”. It was a tough day for the guys and I have to say “life is great!” It was also my kind of day. Seven hours later Mabel, still paddling with thirty mph plus winds, paddled back. Her paddling jacket caked with salt from the spray. To say we were glad she was back was an understatement. Gus and Mabel cooked, I mean really cooked! Steak, ribs, chicken, mashed potatoes, cheese and olive appetizers, life was good! The third night, I didn’t even cook. I just looked at Mabel and Gus hopefully and waited. It was also nice to know that this kind of eating could take place without the presence of Larry being on the trip. Happy (for me) Mabel, Robert and Gus were really cooking and we all ate well! Best of all, for me, I did very little cooking. I mean, does it get any better?
Sunday, after a late and lazy morning (again), Gus and Robert paddled south along the western shoreline while Mabel and I headed south toward the middle of the lake to what looked (from a distance) to be a beautiful island. Like most things in life, what looks good from a distance and without the knowledge of knowing all the facts, it is usually not what it appears to be. True again in this case, our island was low, on a mud flat and encircled by oyster beds. And we all know how much oysters like composite boat (will this grudge never end!?). Mabel and I then turned and paddled north. Following a course set by the GPS, we got out for lunch on a very narrow dune which separated the lagoon from the ocean. This dune was only about one hundred yards wide from water to water and about thirty feet high. It is amazing that it could stand up to both bodies of water and persevere. Our view, on top of the dune, was stunning. After lunch we meandered further north along the eastern shore before heading back southwest through a group of islands and flats to our camp. Upon our return from our ten mile paddle, we could see Robert and Gus as dots on the horizon heading back toward us. Saturday and Sunday nights were breathtaking; we had clear skies and a huge full moon. The site was proof enough to me that there is a Great God. Monday morning, Gus rushed to get going while the rest of us took a more leisurely approach to leaving. It was sad departing our three acre island paradise (as a larger group we will be back). With a fifteen mph tail wind we felt we’d really move along, even with Mabel towing the “barge”. We were wrong. We picked the peak “in coming” tide to leave on. Incoming, in this case, of course meant the tide flowing against us. Mabel, pulling her tanker, paddled hard the whole way back against this very strong tide but managed only a 1.8 mph average. It took us over three hours to paddle back the five miles to our “put in” that would now become our “take out”. Mabel never gave up (but she did say she’d never bring the raft again. That we’d just have to go without a fire next time). At least we got her to take her raft this one time, lucky us, and Oh what fires we had! In the windy thirty degree temperatures, Mabel’s fires were a God Send. Once back on the main land, we unpacked our boats. We packed our cars. We all took hot showers at the campground, said our good byes and off to the real world and reality we went, another great FSKA trip. We will definitely camp here again. See you on the water.

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 8
Fees/Costs $: n/a

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

Mosquito Lagoon Camp No Comm
Mosquito Lagoon Camp

camping on an island in Mosquito Lagoon

Satellite photos No Comm
Satellite photos

camping on an island in Mosquito Lagoon

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsMosquito Lagoon

Post Date: 2/23/2009

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