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near Shell Island, Florida (United States)
The launch area is at the end of Shell Island Road near the Rookery Bay research facility. Shell Island Road is a 2.8-mile long, low-speed paved road through an upland preserve where deer, tortoises, and other wildlife are common. The gate at the road (usually) opens at sunrise (±). The shallow sand/gravel launch is into 4 acres protected cove with an outlet to the north. Free parking is a short walk away after you unload.
Today's trip was northwest through Rookery Bay and north by northwest into the back bay area. There are two possible cuts before Sand Hill Creek, and we took the easternmost one to explore an area to the north where we hadn't been before. And then used the inland waterway (Stopper Creek) to return to the east and then south to the Shell Island Trail at Marker 14.
We rated the trip moderate for navigation. The paddling was almost all open water... almost...