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Ocean Tribe Paddlers


From the Island Reporter:

Through monthly paddling meet-ups on our local waters, Ocean Tribe Paddlers club members gather on paddleboards and kayaks to enjoy the ocean together. Paddling in San Carlos Bay, mangrove bayou at Bowman’s Beach and through the winding Sanibel canals, paddlers set out each month to experience the local wildlife the island has to offer.

Over the last two years, OTP has grown to more than 50 active members who come from all walks of life. At any given paddle, one may find retired snowbirds, veterans, teachers, environmental activists and professional photographers. Despite coming from vastly different backgrounds, all members share a love for paddling and the marine ecosystem of Southwest Florida.

OTP welcomes couples and solo paddlers. Coordinator Kealy McNeal said paddling events are typically split about 50-50 between couples and individuals.

“I have heard from many of the members who come solo that they lack the confidence to paddle by themselves and enjoy paddling in a group, not only for community but for safety,” she said.

This winter and spring, OTP members have been hitting the waters all over Sanibel — with some trips more adventurous than others. McNeal shared a highlight from a recent paddle at Bunche Beach.

“The wind was howling on the bay and we had to take a slight detour,” she said. “As we deviated from the planned route, we decided to beach our boats on the exposed sand flats and search for critters. We found giant lightning whelks and tons of worm egg sacs. I think everyone’s favorite part of the paddle was exploring the sand flats and learning a little marine biology.”

OTP paddles are scheduled on varying days of the week to allow multiple opportunities for club members to attend. McNeal also chooses locations around Sanibel to explore at different times of day.

“We paddle Sanibel’s East End canals at night to see the glowing bioluminescence and San Carlos Bay in the morning to catch a great sunrise,” said McNeal.

For more information on the OTP, click here or watch the video below!


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