The Straight and Narrow Avoids Disaster


The Straight and Narrow Avoids Disaster

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

A few years ago when I was at Myakka River State Park, I was taking pictures at the picnic area across the road from the canopy walk.  I happened to notice a group of about 6-8 kayaks coming down the river.  One or two were paddling faster and were further along than the rest.  When I looked back to see why the group was so strung out, I happened to notice that one lady was a novice.  The older woman was SIDEWAYS in the river.  Her family and friends were in kayaks on all sides of her...protecting her... shouting out instructions...giving quick words of encouragement as the frustrated woman struggled to find her way in the river.  As I watched her frantically trying out the various suggestions, her kayak went from one side of the narrow channel to the other.  

I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I knew up ahead she would encounter the bridge and all the BIG GUYS that hang out along the banks of the bridge.  "How on earth is she going to be able to maneuver through the bridge uprights? What if she hits one of those uprights and overturns?  What is she thinking???"  I worried.  

I looked ahead to see if the kayaks in front would turn around to come back to assist.  They didn't.  The rest of the group formed a tighter cluster around the woman.  Perhaps they understood she HAD to control the kayak before she could go any further.  Gradually the woman seemed to calm down.  Gradually she got the rhythmn of what she needed to do.  Together the group paddled their way past me, on their way down the river towards the bridge, and safely through its uprights.

I always wondered if that woman truly understood the danger she was in when she decided to go kayaking on the Myakka River and saw the Big Guys clustered along the bank of the river by the bridge.   She was a novice.  She had a current to manage.  She had a kayak to maneuver through uprights.  She had enormous alligators watching.  

I would have thought that if you are a novice, you would first find a safer place to learn how to kayak.  I would NOT get my first experience on a body of water that has current and that is filled with alligators.  Since alligators are assumed to be in all freshwater, I would have at least chosen a pond.  My assumption would be that there's no current and that there would be fewer alligators.  

Today I discovered I could toss that assumption out!  Today there was a boatload of alligators in the Upper Lake.  I know they're always there, but I generally don't see them.  Today everywhere I looked, I saw them.  If I had decided THIS was the day I was going to learn how to kayak, I would have had a heart attack to have been out on the Upper Lake as a novice kayaker learning the fine art of kayaking....  "What if I hit one of them?"  What if one of them hit ME?" 

There was also a boatload of kayakers.  The enormous number of alligators apparently doesn't bother those who are experienced.  They just glide in and among them and of course the alligators could care less about the kayakers....but I think that's because the kayakers know what they are doing....

For someone who knows nothing about the sport, I would hope that those who are novices should always kayak with those who are experienced at this sport....

After all you might not want to accidentally paddle through two alligators who are "eyeing" each other....

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL NEW YEAR and HAPPY PADDLING if you're a kayaker or one in training!

Myakka River Kayak Drawing of Chance

Myakka River Kayak Drawing of Chance

WIN a Santee 126 Sport

by Hurricane Kayaks*

39 lbs. – 12’6” in length. Extremely stable.

Enough storage for a serious day trip. 

Great for fishing, exploring and photography.


       Tickets: $5.00 or 5/$20.00**


See the kayak and buy your tickets at Myakka River State Park Ranger Station.


Drawing will be April 19th, 2019

at the Moon Over Myakka Concert.

You need not be present to win.

                  Kayak provided by 

Economy Tackle/Dolphin Paddlesports

Made in USA

Funding for the kayak provided by the Friends of Myakka River, Inc. 

Friends of Myakka River, Inc. is a 501©3 non-profit group established to protect, preserve and support Myakka River State Park and the Florida Wild and Scenic Myakka River.

Phone: 941-373-7839 Address 13208 SR 72, Sarasota, FL 34241

Maximum 20 tickets per person.  No purchase necessary

Winner responsible for picking up prize at Myakka River State Park.

Rules governing this drawing are located on the back of all tickets


Friends of Myakka River, Inc.

Kayak – Rules of the Drawing


  1. This drawing of chance is being conducted by the Friends of Myakka River, Inc., a 501 © 3 non-profit group.  The primary business address listed is 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota FL 34241.

  2. All proceeds from donations received as a result of this drawing will be deposited in the “Friends” account.  No proceeds will be used for salaries or administrative costs.

  3. The drawing will be held at Myakka River State Park, 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL 34241 on April 19th, 2019 during the concert intermission (8PM- 8:30PM); tickets will be available until then.

  4. **The minimum suggested donation is $5.00 per chance or 5/$20.00 and only 20 entries per person are allowed. No purchase or contribution is necessary to participate.

  5. The winner of this drawing will be selected randomly from a container holding all tickets entered.  The winner is in no way predetermined or pre-selected.

  6. The drawing will be held regardless of the number of tickets disbursed.

  7. The winner of the drawing need not be present to win.  If the winner is not present he/she will be notified by phone or in writing using the information provided on the ticket.

  8. Every effort will be made to contact the winner.  If after 90 days the winner cannot be contacted, a second drawing will be held. The time and date of that drawing will be announced on the website:  www.friendsofmyakkariver.org

  9. The winner will need to present his/her photo ID to claim the prize and will be responsible for its pick up and transportation.  *Winner may choose $500 in lieu of kayak.