Sliding our kayaks into the dark waters of Walker’s Creek, we make a left turn and
disappear into Amelia Island’s saltwater marsh. Mullet and drum are splashing in the shallows
and, above me, a pelican glides through the warm air. All I can hear are sounds of water
dripping from my paddle, the buzzing of insects in the reeds.
Once you’ve seen the marsh, you don’t forget it, these immense fields of spartina,
glinting green in the Florida sunshine and flanked by a forest of century-old live oaks, Spanish
moss hanging from their branches like clothes hung out to dry.
Paddling upstream, we pass an old, dilapidated dock on which are perched a dozen
white egrets. They ignore us as we glide past.
Before reaching the takeout point, we notice several roseate spoonbills feeding in the
distance, their pink plumage glowing warmly against the green backdrop of the spartina.
Seated inside the best inflatable kayak, so close to the water, I feel a part of the marsh rather than just
a spectator—a part of an ecosystem fast disappearing from other parts of the state.