Tracking the Elusive Sterpe Bird



eventeen men in multi-colored kayaks on the Intracoastal were enough of a sight for boaters to gather on their decks and to snap pictures.  We must have looked like a rainbow assortment of huge ducks.


Dave chose Superbowl Sunday as a day when there would be little demand on the rental kayaks by straight males.  We are a small niche within a minority--who says we can’t use it to our advantage?  One group on shore yelled “Where are your women?”. The accuracy of the response “Home watching the game” may have been lost on them.


Sterpe Bird and friends.


We rented from Urban Trails Outfitters (real motto: “Yak Off On the Bay”) who provided us with brief instructions, and then pushed us gleefully down the ramp.  We paddled up the Intracoastal against the tide.  At 171st Street, we turned inland along the Ojus Canal toward Maule Lake.  Those who expected relief from the current were disappointed by the even stronger current in the canal (“Gates of Hell” was one comparison).


Once into Maule Lake, however, we glided by, with relatively little effort.  Good thing too, for those of us whose arms were already like rubberbands.  Once on the Oleta River itself, we stopped at 163rd Street, near the Marlin Smokehouse, for lunch.  A few of us bought and shared smoked Bass, Marlin and Kingfish with the group.  (It’s something to eat)


We took one detour into the mangrove area on the way back, following a narrow stream through a dense mangrove tunnel, pungent with sulfur.  All went well until we had to turn around.  Imagine a line of 17 nine-foot ducks trying to turn around in a stream bed 1 1/2 feet wide


We completed the eight mile course in about four hours--including lunch.  Having completed the day, we are Beginners no more.  We have earned the right to be called Advanced Beginners!