What to Expect and What to Bring

Florida Weather and Clothing

Florida weather can be wildly variable, especially in the winter months.  Temperatures can range from the teens into the
80's.  It is best to dress in layers.  Kayaking is a watersport and while you may not be swimming, you can expect to get at
least a little damp.  We typically use a beach launch so you should figure on wading at least ankle deep.  The good news
is that the water temp is a constant 72 degrees. Wetsuits are not necessary, but you may find them helpful at the coldest
of times.  Since we do not promote swimming with manatees we do not offer wetsuits for rent.

This is our recommended layering for the coldest of days:

From the bottom layer up (above your undergarments ), shorts or swim suit below, t-shirt (long sleeve if you've got it)
above. Next water resistant pants (something like rain pants) or wetsuit bottom below with a sweatshirt, sweater in the
coldest weather, a jacket above.  The idea is to be able to stay warm in the morning and layer down to your comfort level
as the day warms.  It is not unusual to have 20 degree swings in temperature during the winter months.  This is all
contingent upon the current weather.  

What to Bring

We supply the essentials.  Boat, PFD w Whistle, Paddle, and in case of a guided tour, the Guide.  The rest is
up to you.

For footwear, we recommend something that is meant to get wet and has flexible soles.  Tennis shoes are not
recommended.  We use a wet launch meaning you will have to get wet to at least ankle depth.

Other Important Items

Aardvarks recommends polarized sunglasses and keepers for everybody on the water.  You'll be amazed at the
difference these lenses can make when it comes to spotting manatees below the surface.  It can literally the difference
between spotting a manatee and missing it completely. They need not be expensive, but they should be quality lenses.
Check out the following photos.  No polarized lens on the left, polarized on the right.

A Hat and Sunscreen is next.  The Florida sun can be a killer even on overcast days in the winter. Get a hat that is not
prone to blow off in the wind (some have drawstrings to prevent this). Use a water resistant/proof  sunscreen.

Dry Bags or Boxes. The best advice is if it can't get wet, don't bring it. We do not provide rental or loaner dry bags.  We
do not recommend plastic bags to protect sensitive electronics.  Our retail shop carries a full line of quality dry bags and
boxes for purchase.

Insect repellent is not always needed, but in the winter months, on days with no wind and at sunset especially, we have
these little critters we call no see 'ums. They are literally flying teeth and can be quite irritating.  Something like Skin So
Soft seems to work best. Depending on where and when you are paddling, heavier duty repellents may be necessary.

Water should be on hand to keep you hydrated. Drink frequently and before you feel thirsty.  Food is up to you.  There
are waterfront eateries that are kayak accessible or you can bring your own food. Most of the guided trips are scheduled
to end right at lunch time. If you do being your own, try to stick to foods that do not need refrigeration.  If you must bring a
cooler, bring a small soft sided cooler.

If you are planning on paddling the Rainbow River or into Three Sisters Spring in King's Bay, be aware that no
disposable containers or wrappers of any kind are allowed on the waterbody. In this area, only the Rainbow and Three
Sisters has this ordinance, other rivers may have their own rules such as the Weeki Wachee which prohibits alcohol.

3 Sisters Spring Special Restrictions
No Disposable Containers
No Alcoholic Beverages
No Pets in Water
No Tying Off to Trees or Vegetation
No fishing, Gigging, or Spearing

Additionally from Nov15-March 31
No Exiting or Anchoring vessels, kayaks, SUPs. No SCUBA or DPVs

Finally it is often a good idea to bring a bath towel and a  change of clothing for after the trip and don't foget
the camera.  Aardvark's has dry bags for sale to keep your camera dry and we also sell inexpensive recyclable

IN A DRY BAG OR BOX, specifically designed for such use.