On April 16, we hosted a fishing and paddling outing to the islands within Canaveral National Seashore for our fellow University of Central Florida students.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with a friendly welcome from National Park Service Ranger Valerie Stanley, who took some time to tell the group about the history of the national seashore.

Before entering the water, the group learned some kayaking basics; then, we paddled together towards the island, where we would spend the rest of the morning.

Along the way, we marveled at the native eagles and ospreys as they picked fish from the water and pods of dolphins cresting above the bay near our boats as we paddled by. On the island, we taught the group how to fish using light spinning rods and sabiki lures, then cast our lines into the water. As we waited for the fish to bite, we watched stingrays, skates, and dolphins pass by us as they explored the shallows of the shore.

At the end of the outing, the group had only caught two fish, but everyone seemed to enjoy being so immersed in such a wild and new place that the lack of bites didn’t phase them. On the paddle back, we watched the sunset before packing up and heading back to shore.

While saying our goodbyes, many of the students commented on how much they enjoyed getting to explore the National Seashore, and they would have otherwise never known it existed.