We were already feeling like the weekend was a success because of the incredible shooting star we saw on Friday night during the Perseid meteor shower. We went to the beach and were hoping to still be able to see something even though it was early in the evening and hadn't gotten completely dark yet. We were about to leave when we all happened to look up and catch the brightest and longest-lasting shooting star Trevor and I had ever seen. Ellison had actually never seen one before so it was awesome that this got to be her first sighting.
There are a number of places to rent kayaks or canoes in St. Augustine and you certainly don't have to go through Anastasia State Park to do it, but we decided Anastasia Watersports provided an easy launch site with protected waters that allowed us the option of either staying close to the marsh areas around Conch Island if it was windy or head into the Matanzas River (Intercoastal Waterway) if we wanted to venture a little farther out.
The paddle back was considerably more difficult - we were going against the current and the wind had picked up. It was a beautiful day, however, and Ellison and I weren't ready to go home so we decided to paddle past the office and explore the end of Salt Run near the sand dunes. This is rumored to be the area with the best fishing and the fewest people so it was worth a look. We weren't disappointed- fish were jumping every few feet and there wasn't another boat in sight. Trevor caught the biggest ladyfish he'd ever seen and Ellison was excited to watch the redfish and mullet leap in to the air.
The only negative I could think of was that they only have one canoe and if it's already taken for the day then you're out of luck. Maybe think of getting a second boat? They don't take reservations so you just have to get there early (they open at 9 am). Luckily, the couple that had taken the canoe out Saturday morning came back shortly after we got there.
It's one of those things where familiarity and proximity causes a place to lose it's luster just a bit and to do something new rekindles your interest. For whatever reason, this canoe trip helped put my frustration in perspective and allow me to really appreciate my surroundings. It was exactly the kind of fun weekend our whole family needed before we head back to school.