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Blooming Vines on the Sebastian River

Blooming Vines on the Sebastian River

Standing on the dock, looking down at the small, winding river, my thoughts drifted to childhood images of summers in Vermont, fishing from the banks of Joe’s Brook with my siblings. We would sit amongst the tall grasses—in the middle of nowhere—where we had moments ago caught grasshoppers and dug for worms to use for bait.  I love small rivers like this, the kind that twist and turn with banks dripping with foliage, trees casting shade for paddlers.

A funny thing about this river, the Sebastian, it seems no one agrees on what to call it. My guidebooks call it Sebastian River, Sebastian Creek, and St. Sebastian River.  At first I thought they all referred to different waterways, and I nearly passed this one up. So glad, I didn’t!

So, I rented my kayak from All About Kayaks—right across from Wimbrow Park, just off Airport Road, in Sebastian, Florida.  Steve drove me to my put in on the South Prong of the Sebastian—off Fellsmere Road (CR 512), giving me a three-hour paddle north to Wimbrow Park, about 4.5 miles. I would paddle the South prong which flows south to north and eventually meets up with the North Prong and empties into the Indian River.

I put in under a beautiful clear sky, the crisp air and tinges of orange and gold along the river’s edge signaling that fall had finally arrived.  I paddled away from the dock on the dark, cool water, already captivated by this charming river.  I pushed aside branches to get through here and there and took in the uncoiffed landscape— tall grasses, leather ferns, oaks, cabbage palms, pines, and saw palmetto—all crowding the river—and blooming vines pouring off trees like waterfalls.

Paddling north, the St. Sebastian River State Buffer Preserve appears on the left, so it was on the east side where the houses popped up—usually not disturbing the serene surroundings, at least in the beginning. More than once I headed down a branch of the waterway, only to find that it dead-ended, and I had to turn back.

For nearly two hours, I paddled a narrow river where nature reigned.  My paddle was peaceful, serene, and fragrant. Water seeped into the woods over the low banks; occasional sand bluffs appeared on the west side of the river.

The country charm eventually gave way to a more estuarine quality as the river widened…and then, a dolphin slid in and out of the water in front of me.  I continued to enjoy the solitude of the river and the fish that jumped around me—sometimes near misses to my vessel.  Lazy turtles sunned themselves on fallen logs as great blue herons lifted themselves into the air. Before long, I spied colorful skydivers floating on the air currents in the distance—much the way the osprey floated.  Wimbrow Park was just ahead.

(Outfitter: About Kayaks (Steve). 25 Airport Drive West, Sebastian, FL 32958. (772) 589-3469)

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