Loxahatchee Kayaking – Amazing Sights at Riverbend Park
Sweet smelling swamp lilys, creepy Spanish moss, spongy pink bunches of snail eggs and stumpy cypress knees — figuring them out is part of the mystery and fun when you paddle with JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER on the Wild & Scenic Loxahatchee River.
Here’s a few of nature’s attractions to seek out in your canoeing in Jupiter trip. Your paddling pals will be impressed with your knowledge.
PINK AS BUBBLE GUM
These fist-sized blobs often astound — and unfortunately attract — many paddlers on the Wild & Scenic Loxahatchee River. Clinging like bunches of grapes to cypress knees and branches just above the waterline, they are the eggs of the highly invasive apple snail.
Don’t eat or touch them! These snails can transmit a deadly parasite, called rat lung worm, to people and other mammals.
The snails have heavy golden-brown shells and, true to their name, can grow to the size of an apple (2 to 4 inches) or larger (up to 6 inches across).
So while canoeing in Jupiter, float right by these pink eggs.
Sign up for a guided Loxahatchee kayaking tour here. GREAT FOR TEAM BUILDING!
CYPRESS KNEES – WHAT DO THEY DO?
Scientists are stumped.
Some calculate the knobby nubs that grow around the base of the trees serve as anchors to keep the tree in place. After all, many cypress trees 50 feet high and higher along the edges of the Lox River.
Collecting oxygen is the reason the the knees, counter other scientists.
Nah, scoff more scientists. The knees give the root system access to air.
You’re all wrong, say others. The knees act as a defense to keep the trees in place on the soggy shore.
And why are they called knees?
Scientists think they got this one.
The real name for the gadgets is pneumatophores. (KNEE-ma-toff-ores)
Knees, for short.
You know, like the short name for Bartholomew.
Sweet smelling and elegant, swamp lilies look like starbursts along the banks of the Lox.
The plants, which grow up to three feet tall, love the full sun and growing in wet soil.
While smelling and looking good is fine, being pretty has its downside.
Insects like grasshoppers and flies love to snack on swamp lillies.
Take your time checking out these plants while you’re Loxahatchee kayaking in Riverbend Park.
Creepy, droopy and mysterious, paddling under Spanish moss is like hearing the scary music in a horror movie.
Also known as grey beard and tree hair, the springy greenish stuff loves hanging over the branches of the live oaks and bald cypress trees you’ll see paddle boarding in Jupiter along the Lox River.
Clumps of Spanish moss are hotels for biodiversity.
Insects, bats, frogs, lizards, snakes and more live inside the stuff.
Birds like yellow-throated warblers and northern parulas make their nests during the spring and summer.
And there is one species of spider that can only be found living in Spanish moss.
Pity the poor towering cypress tree along the Loxahatchee River that a strangler fig tree has selected to be its host.
Living up to its name, the tree is wrapping up the cypress is an embrace of death that will ultimately kill the hapless host tree. You see lots of them while Loxahatchee kayaking in scenic Riverbend Park.
Sometimes just a few years, sometimes decades — the time varies. The climbing vines start small and can get to be as thick as a human’s forearm as they climb to the top of the tree.
JUPITER OUTDOOR CENTER’S 90-minute tour seeks out sea turtle and manatee sightings and explores the local mangrove-lined waterways of the lower Loxahatchee River and Indian River Lagoon. One-person kayak, two-person-kayak, or paddle board – the choice is yours.
We float on ice-clear Jupiter Inlet waters by the historic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, to Sawfish Bay which holds two beautiful mangrove islands perfect for bird watching on this popular adventure.
Or take our adventure to the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most bio-diverse estuaries in the United States.
All skill levels and ages welcome on this Loxahatchee kayaking tour.
Your JOC guide will give you basic paddle and safety instruction.
Bring water and yourselves for a wonderful sunset tour where there is almost a body on the water and when the temperature is finally cooling down. More bugs may be expected, but we do offer free bug spray.
Jupiter Outdoor Center’s all new summer program offers a variety of camps all included in a week! It’s your one-stop camp for adventure and EXTRAORDINARY nature experience for the youth in our community. Weekly sessions include surf lessons, kayaking, paddleboarding, biking, hiking, snorkeling, plant identification, survivalist skills, marine biology, art, music, yoga, sports, environmental impact awareness, earth clean ups, herbalism 101, animal encounters…and most importantly…skills and memories to last a lifetime!