When Michael Dexter, 61, closed his graphic arts shop, he had more time to pursue his passions, which include playing guitar, hiking, biking, and, of course, paddling. He and his wife had rented sit-on-top kayaks on past trips to Florida, so when they purchased a winter home in Englewood, Florida, they also purchased a pair of Perception Pescadors.
CanoeKayak.com: What do you like about your Pescadors?
Michael Dexter: We've always rented sit-on-top kayaks in the past and I just like the ease of them. We had rented the Pescador last winter and we really liked it. We found a place in Sarasota that sells them. I read a lot of reviews and people like the comfort and ease of paddling. They're affordable too. I am going to get a new seat, but that's not the kayak's fault. The Perception seemed the perfect fit for exploring Florida’s diverse waters. It turns great for a wide kayak with no rudder. It tracks really well and is so stable too. I've been reading a lot about proper kayaking and paddling techniques, so I don't just flounder around there and it really does well for me.
What kinds of trips have you taken it out on?
We mostly go out for a couple hours at a time as I have a torn rotator cuff, but it easily carries all we need. It has a big dry well in the front and a smaller one by my legs and a nice storage area with bungie cords in the back. The cheaper kayaks don't have adjustable pegs for your feet. The Pescador does. For someone my age, it's a really good kayak as I'm not going to do expeditions. I also got this kayak because I love to fish. I know nothing about fishing down here yet, but I plan to fly fish.
Where do you like to paddle?
They have wonderful mangrove tunnels down here. They're mysterious. You feel like you're the first person to ever go through, even though you aren't. The wildlife you see down here is incredible too. White pelicans are everywhere. You see iguanas and songbirds in the tunnels. You even see bald eagles down here.
What other wildlife do you enjoy?
I especially like hanging out with the Dolphins. We live on Lemon Bay, so I paddle out there every couple days in the morning to watch them feed. They're always in the same spot. Their feeding is fascinating. They come quite close to me and blow air out, which I never tire of hearing. They ignore me, but they know I'm there. They're just focused on feeding.
Where are your mangrove tunnels?
My wife and I love going to the Charlotte Blueway trails. It's got beautiful mangrove tunnels.
Where else do you paddle?
Our other favorite place is Stump Pass on Manasota Key Florida. It's a magical place, but it's slowly disappearing. They estimate it'll be around for another five to seven years due to tides and erosion. It's a narrow, little key and a lot of the trees have died, so the whole shoreline is stumps, dead trees that stick out of the water. It's a little over a mile long and has cool trails that go the length of it. There's a beach at one end. Before I learned it was disappearing, I already loved it, but I love it even more now knowing it's fleeting.
You don't have a car top or trailer your kayaks. How do you transport them?
I bought a Boonedox T-Bone for my Honda Element. It's a bed extender for a pickup truck. I was trying to figure how to haul my kayak and I was thinking a trailer would be a pain. I have a 12-foot kayak sticking out of my Honda Element and it's wonderful. I can go anywhere. It's a great invention and has really expanded the places we can go. I put a little orange flag on the kayaks for safety's sake, I bungie cord them, and off we go.
–Have a canoe or kayak you love? Be in RIDES or recommend a friend! Contact Katie McKy at email@example.com with "RIDES profile" in the subject line.. Photos are provided by the paddlers.