Key West is full of seemingly endless water activities that beginners and experts can enjoy, making it a challenge to choose what to do on vacation. An important factor for many that can make or break a trip is the guide, and AJ from Kayak Kings of Key West is not only experienced and helpful, but he loves what he does. After logging some serious hours kayaking in Alaska, for the last seven years he has brought his enthusiasm for the sport to Key West. In April 2012, AJ kayaked from Garden Key to Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas and back – a seven-mile jaunt over some unpredictable currents for a chance to snorkel Little Africa, an electrifying coral reef teaming with aquatic life. (See author’s bio at the bottom for more information about this trip, or ask AJ and he’ll tell you all about it!)AJ on Loggerhead Key — Photo courtesy of Amber Nolan
Kayak Kings is AJ’s new venture in Key West that currently offers snorkeling and kayaking combination tours and stargazing trips. Beginners usually opt for the two-hour tour which includes wildlife spotting (sting rays, dolphins, tropical fish) and snorkeling ship wrecks and patch reefs. A four-hour tour around Key West is also available for those that want more time on the water, and he is currently planning a back-country trip to Cayo Agua, a bird-watching mecca, for summer 2012. The area is home to white and brown pelicans, little blue herons, tri-colored herons, great egrets, and a host of wading birds that reside in the mangroves that make it a spectacular paddle.
Kids are welcome to come on trips, but AJ likes to meet them first to get an idea of their skill level because safety is always the most important concern.
“I’ve taken10-year-olds that were better kayakers than some 17-year-olds,” AJ said. “But if I think the trip is too difficult for the kids, I let the parents know so they can choose an alternative tour.” For the last 20 years, AJ has been certified in first aid and CPR. He is also very familiar with the wildlife and is quick to point out a shipwreck or two resting in shallow waters (even if they are from more recent incidents).
Wayfarers interested in more exclusive itineraries should contact AJ with their idea. He’s always looking for a new kayak crusade and – with the proper planning – can likely meet special requests to customize their journey.