Kayaking Big Talbot Island
Big Talbot Island is one of the most unique parks in Northeast Florida. Due to shore erosion large trees have fallen on to the beach and black rock or peat is being uncovered. These two features give Big Talbot Island State Park a unique feel while paddling along its shore.¬† At one point this island was just like all barrier island, a dune system and over time became an ancient dune made of sand mixed with enough organic matter to grow a forest of salt tolerant plants and trees. Big Talbot Island State Park¬† is¬†essentially¬†a dune system and is the number one reason for the erosion, the areas where groupings of plants died, decomposed, and where compressed for thousands of years creates peat or black looking rocks. This is Northeast Florida clay and what some of the¬†indigenous¬†coastal people made pottery out of.
As you paddle through Simpson Creek nestled between Big and Little Talbot Island State Park the creek banks are lined with spartina or smooth cord grass a salt tolerant grass that dominates the salt marshes and estuaries in Northeast Florida. Paddling ¬†through the twists turns of the salt marsh enjoying the¬†abundance of wildlife¬†in one of the most productive environment in the world, 90% of the fish that we eat grow up in estuaries, this delicate environment is the nursery ground for the ocean. Thousands of species of animals live in the estuary keep a look out for movements, color variations, and abnormal plants in the trees and on the ground, you will be amazed at what you can see. There are a lot of resident birds in the estuary so along the way you may see heron, cormorant, egret, osprey, and many species of migratory birds. I suggest bringing a bird book.
This is one of the most unique beaches in North Florida and well worth the planning, if you can get out on a weekday do it. The Timucuan Preserve is amazingly uninhabited on the weekdays.
Paddle Safe! Check Weather and Tide!
Trip Planning Details
Be careful with the tide, the information here is how I plan trips for this location, I utilize the tidal flow and ride the tide. Look at the tide table and judge the tide so that on the start of your trip it is at least 2 hours no less than 3 hours before the tide switch. This ensures that the tide will switch when you are having lunch and you can ride the tide back to your launch.
First Coast Outfitters offers guided kayak Eco tours, corporate team-building, kayak rentals through out meetup groups, and SUPing in and around the Talbot Island