Kayaking After Ian Like most folks around here, we’ve been busy picking up the pieces and trying to get back to some kind of normal. Infrastructure like water and power are some of the modern conveniences we enjoy in the midst of the chaos, but still no internet. Volunteers and organizations, devoted to helping survivors of Ian, have supplied aid and a hot meals to those of us in need on those days we were too tired to cook and nearly too tired to eat. We appreciated the meals that World Central Kitchen provided, and the water from the FEMA. Charlotte County mosquito control has surely helped, though the hordes of these beasties still emerge from the standing water left over from all the rain. Finally temperatures have dropped, and the rain has stopped which energizes us to carry on with the projects needed to keep moving towards normalcy, though we’re still not sure what that will look like. Our home will never be the same after most of our trees fell over or just snapped off. We finally took a few hours off to see the wreckage beyond our own neighborhood. A tour of both sides of Lemon Bay inspired mixed feelings of sadness and hope. We certainly saw devastation and mountains of stacked tree trunks but also saw line crews restoring internet and power as well as big trucks hauling away debris. We saw residents cleaning up and, like us, striving towards something that feels like “before Ian”. We checked out some of our favorite kayak launches around Lemon Bay and wanted to share this information with other kayak anglers. Just because these launches are open, does not mean they are like before. Most have vegetation damage that makes launching a little more challenging but still possible. Just be careful and watch for barnacled branches, dock boards with nails protruding, and trees partially submerged in places that were passible before Ian. Lemon Bay Park launch is open and accessible. We did notice a distinct tannin stain to the water due to the massive runoff from inland rains. Indian Mound Park is open as well. Crossing over to Manasota Key, on the west side of Lemon Bay, we found the road to Stump Pass Beach State Park closed near WannaB Inn. The sign indicated it was a temporary closure while major debris removal was in progress. The road north towards Blind Pass Beach Park was a journey into one-lane-chaos as crews struggled to clear property that became a tangled mass of downed oaks and palms. The damage to property on the island was significant and folks were out with rakes and shovels pitching in on the effort. At Blind Pass we found the north launch closed but the launches on the southeast end of the road were open but eroded. A load of shell would go a long way to recovering these popular launches. On up the road, the launch at the Manasota Bridge was open and was in the best shape of any we visited. There was plenty of parking and only one boat trailer in the parking area. This launch has no trees around that could fall into the area where we launch our kayaks. Oyster Creek launch off of Placida Road was in good shape, though we did pick up paper cups and cans down by the water. We hope other kayakers will make a point to help with a little cleanup at these launches. On a less happy note, we stopped at Englewood Beach and noticed a red tide cough as soon as we exited the car. We weren’t surprised after Ian came through. The influx of tannin-stained fresh water changed the salinity and Ph of the bay and nearshore waters. The organic material dumped into the bays and passes, fertilized all sorts of organisms including the red tide offenders. Let’s all think positive thoughts and be patient. Nature brought on this situation and nature will rectify it over time. Wait until the pollution and debris dissipate, then we can take a break to get on the water to catch some fish.