SUN CITY CENTER - Fueled by a passion for wildlife and respect for nature, Lucille Carpentier formed the original Sun City Center Canoe and Kayak Group in 1997. Its purpose was to provide like-minded nature enthusiasts with a means of exploring area waterways while building friendships.
Now known simply as the Kayak Club, current President Pat Masterson plans weekly excursions for its ever curious members.
"Kayaking is affordable," said member Bob Sanfilippo. "It's our weekly adventure to see the best parts of the real Florida that most people never see, and it's a great upper body workout."
Membership to the club is free and trip costs vary according to the excursion. The group meets every Thursday, weather permitting. Members must be residents of Sun City Center.
One of the favorite hot spots for the club is kayaking up the Braden River, about four miles from Jigg's Landing.
"We stop at Linger Lodge for lunch in Bradenton, then paddle back another four miles to our cars," said Masterson. "It's a beautiful trip and always a hit. If we are not stopping, we will have snacks/drinks in our boats as we paddle."
Every year the club heads to Silver River State Park in Ocala on an overnight trip. They paddle five miles upriver to the headwaters, stopping on the way to observe a wild monkey population living along the banks.
Some future day trips include the Peace River in Bartow or the Rainbow River in Dunnellon.
For more information, contact Pat Masterson at Pat-Masterson@tampabay.rr.com or call (813) 938-4614.
Lorianne De Loreto is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.