|Post By:||lynette422001 on 3/27/2010 12:12pm|
|Replies:||0, Views: 1067|
Mself and two hardy paddlers paddled part of Segment 22 on a windy March Weekend. We began at Ballard Park in Melbourne and paddled to the Barge Canal, then across and south to Lee Wenner Park in Cocoa over 3 days.
We paddled the Banana River from the opening at the Eau Gallie Causeway. The opening is hard to miss, being very wide.
Samsons Island was located 3 miles north, on the east side. It is marked with a channel marker, no signs from the west. There are clear signs on the south side, along the Grand Canal. We found Samsons Island to be very comfortable and roomy. Osprey, hoot owls, a black racer, and many other creatures were our companions. There are fire rings, picnic tables, plentiful firewood, and a chemical toilet.
Day 2 we paddled to the Barge Canal. This was a tough paddle, into the wind and 16 miles. Not for the faint of heart and there is nowhere to stop for a break, other than private property. The wind ate up a lot of our time so we paddled past 1000 islands instead of exploring it. Next time I hope to give it a thorough explore.
We reached Ski Island just as the sun was setting. We selected the spoil island north of Ski Island for our campsite. It is roomy and clean, with a fire ring and a clearing suitable for a few tents. There was very little firewood. We just managed to set up camp before dark.
The next day we paddled west through the Canaveral Barge Canal. It is clean and the wildlife seem to like it. Motorized craft respect the no wake restrictions. There is no lock west of the Banana River. The opening to Sykes Creek is marked and easy to find.
We found a string of small islands where the canal meets the ICW. The first (easternmost) island is covered with birds and we saw several spoonbills mixed in with the many brown Pelicans, ibis, and cormorants. The next island has several sandy beaches, a sandbar, and clearings; making it well suited for a picnic or camping.
My group decided to paddle south to Lee Wenner Park because the wind was out of the north. An hour later, it swung around and was out of the south. Oh well.