The Sanibel Island and Fort Myers, Florida mangrove ecosystem is one of the most expansive and beautiful natural wildlife sights in the entire country. Kayaking or canoeing through Sanibel mangroves in Southwest Florida is a tranquil experience you will never forget.
What are Mangroves?
Mangroves are coastal trees or shrubs that grow primarily in tropical coastal swamps that are flooded by high tides. Mangroves have an intricate tangled root system that exists both below and above water, creating dense form thickets that are a beautiful sight to behold, especially from a canoe or kayak. The root systems of the mangroves extract freshwater from the saltwater that drowns the roots daily, using above ground roots to extract fresh oxygen and help the mangroves survive when the roots are flooded at high tide.
What Do Mangroves Do?
Mangroves, which are protected in most areas from manmade destruction, act as a protective buffer much like coral reefs do to provide a home for fish and other marine life. The mangroves also help protect the coastline and stabilize erosion from high tides and storms.
Sanibel Mangroves: What to Look For
Red, black and white mangroves are an important environmental protection factor for Sanibel Island and Fort Myers’ coast. They act as the first line of defense to protect against high tides, storm surge, pollution and erosion. The following types of mangroves provide nesting and homes for hundreds of wildlife animals:
- Red mangroves are found in the water at low tide and contain cell membranes in their roots to filter out the salt from the water. These roots provide food and shelter for approximately 70 percent of the area’s marine life.
- Black mangroves grow just offshore and their bark is much darker than the rest of the mangroves. Groupings of small, white flowers that smell sweet bloom on their short tree limbs.
- White mangroves are found at a higher elevation and have regular tree-type roots that are exposed on the ground. The bark is lighter in color and the leaves are thick and rounded.
Kayaking Through the Sanibel Mangrove Ecosystem
When you are kayaking or canoeing in Southwest Florida, traversing through the Sanibel mangrove ecosystem is a must. The sea grasses surrounding the mangroves, combined with the mangroves, are home and a food source for fish, turtles, birds and more. Make sure you check with a charter boat captain about the best areas to kayak and experience nature in this ecosystem. A couple of kayak mangrove exploring suggestions we have for you include:
- The J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge has a plethora of kayak and canoe trails through the mangroves.
- The Rookery Islands Bay and Reserve is a mangrove paradise that is home to dozens of species of water and wading birds, as well as a plethora of marine life.
Read our blog to find some other Sanibel Island kayaking trails.
Rent a Kayak at Port Sanibel Marina
It’s time to rent a canoe or kayak at Port Sanibel Marina. You can also rent a boat, schedule a charter for fishing or traverse the area on an eco-tour or sunset charter. Rent a fully furnished condo at Royal Shell Vacation Rentals or Sundial Beach Resort & Spa. Sundial guests receive 30 percent off boat, canoe and kayak rentals. Give us a call at (239) 437-1660 to plan your boating and watersport activities today!
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