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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Manatee Cove Park at Merritt Island

Manatee Cove Park Dolphin

New location for Views From Our Kayak. Had a great one today at Merritt Island, putting in at Manatee Cove Park. It was hot as heck and I made it longer that it really had to be but came back home with another Florida Trifecta...dolphin, manatee, and gator.

Happy manatee at the Indian River

Gator...a little tiny one, but a gator

Put In / Take Out: Manatee Cover Park, in Merritt Island. It is a very good facility operated by the Brevard County. It has a small parking area, with another one bigger no too far from the launch zone. It also provides restrooms.

Snowy Egret has take home breakfast

My original plan was to go to Canaveral Seashore in New Smyrna Beach. The forecast had a light chop in the Inter-coastal, which it is not too bad. But then, looking around the map spotted a place, Manatee Cove Park. With that name it was easy to pick my interest. Did a quick research and found that it has a kayak launch area. OK. Kept looking and saw another place nearby that one; Pine Island Conservation Area, with two paddle trails. In addition to that K.A.R.S. and the Banana River, a location we paddled once before our blog was created, is close by. Change my plan and decided that in the morning was going to scout these two new locations and then would decide what to do.

Great Blue Heron at Manatee Cove Park

My first stop was at Manatee Cove Park. For one minute thought about put in there right away. The launch area is small but easy, adequate, marked parking spots, and right from the get go manatees on sight. But just to do the right thing decided to drive to Pine Island Conservation Area. At this location there are two paddling trails. The problem is that there are no clear signs to let you know where they are and where you can go. But there is map you can get at the entrance, in a map box, and it tells you where the trails, among other things, are. I decided to go back to Manatee Cove Park, at least for today.

Manatee Cove Park Green Heron
After all the scouting I did have a late start. Was back at the Manatee Cove Park at 8:45 and had to wait a while for a tour group from Calypso Kayaking to leave. I am on this for fun and that is their business so I had no issues with waiting. Talked a little with the guy in charge of the equipment and when the group left then prepared my yak to go. Am going to mention this here because saw at least one more outfitter and compared them. The Calypso Kayaking guy was very professional and knows his stuff. Focused on safety first and then gave clear instructions to his group. On the other hand saw another guide from another outfitter encouraging his costumers to touch a manatee that came close by to his kayak. No more comments.

Calypso Kayaking group

Started my paddle sometime between 9 and 9:05. Manatee Cove Park lived to the name. The place was full of manatees. I spent a little too long taking pics of them, or at least trying. One of them became curious and came to check my Perception Sport Conduit. Here are the pics from Manatee Cove and the surrounding areas...

Tri Colored Heron

Rock Star Snowy Egret


Snowy Egret


Green Heron

Green Heron

Curious manatee at Manatee Cove

Manatee goes under the yak

Does it taste

Cannot tell the flavor

Manatee Cove

After the manatee encounter paddled the small canal connecting the Indian River with Manatee Cove. Immediately a dolphin duo greeted me at the river. Another 4 dolphins pod was farther to the West. Headed North, toward the Pine Island Conservation Area. It was hot but the river was smooth. No breeze at all. Here is what I saw on my way there...

Indian River Dolphin




Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Manatee at the Indian River. This was one of the many sightings at the river

Tri colored Heron


Great Egret

Least Tern

Least Tern



Made it to the entrance of the Pine Island Conservation Area, Sams Creek or Rinker Canal as it is known. This is part of one of the paddling trails at Pine Island Conservation Island. Decided to explore it a bit and to try to find an area to land and rest under the shade. The heat was putting a number on me. Assumed that the the creek was going to take me to the put in area I saw in the morning during my scouting trip, and it was correct. Found a place to rest and observed the manatees in the area. There were many of them. Did not take pics since was more tired than anything else. After 30 minuted decided to return to Manatee Cove Park and end my paddle...

Dolphins at the Indian River



Dolphin pod

At the entrance/exit of Manatee Cove a dolphin was hunting. Did shoot the last pics of this paddle...

And this is it for this one. If you have questions do not hesitate and leave it in the comments section. Check our Facebook Page for more pics of other trips. Thanks for reading and see you soon. We will be sharing more Views From Our Kayak with you.

Indian River


  1. Love this! Grew up in Cocoa and took a dolphin tour in this area this summer. Makes me remember how lucky I am to call this area home

  2. Jeez.. I've got to get back to FL.. Dolphins! I always enjoy your adventures!