Christmas eve morning, we drove to Jiggs Landing in Bradenton to spend the day. We’d never been there before but it will be on our list from now on.
Jiggs landing is named for the original fish camp established in 1946 on a loop of the Braden river. Freshly redone, it now has a visitor’s center, modern bathrooms, rental cabins, a playground neat and clean with a astro turf surface and wonderful boat ramps. This has the most wonderful is the kayak launch I’ve ever seen. You can get into the water and out without wetting anything more than the tip of your paddle.
I saw more water birds than I do paddling the Peace river. It must be that the birds here are more used to people. Most populous were common coots and moor hens. I wish I were an accomplished birder, but I know some other birds I saw were Herons and perhaps a Crane of some kind. Lots of turtles too, of course. No doubt there were the ubiquitous alligators, but I didn’t’ see any. Being nearsighted has its advantages.
As we were unloading our kayak, another boater was launching his small boat to the accompaniment of four squealing, laughing, wiggling kiddies that appeared to be about 6 to 8 years old.
I could imagine the scenario. “For cats sake – take these wound-up kids out of the house for awhile so I can finish Christmas preparations!!” says the young momma. It appeared these two young daddies had decided a boat ride was just the ticket. Launching the boat was a snap – loading the kiddies – not so much. I heard one daddy say “Everyone will wear a life jacket. --- NO – I said everyone!” Jason! Get on the dock! Everyone stay on the dock!” It looked much like the phrase ‘trying to herd cats’. More squeals. A fisherman had dumped a small bucket of minnows on the grass and the kids were tossing them at one another. Eventually, I saw them motor out to the main channel.
Whew! Do I miss those days? Not at all. They were fun then and I have many beautiful memories. But, I’m glad to be the age I am now and be free of all the hassle.