Alligator Lake in Safety Harbor, Florida


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
We just got back from a nice trip to Ontario and wanted to try out the canoes we had bought. So, today, we went to the quaint town of Safety Harbor. It is about 15 minutes from our house. The town has quite some history as it was once home of the Tocobaga Indians who inhabited the area from 900-1500's. There is one large Indian mound that is made out of shells collected by the Indians. It is located in a popular park outside of town on the Bay. But, we went to a freshwater lake called "Alligator Lake" at the other end of town. I have a 1967- 14' Chesnut Playmate that we picked up in Simcoe, Ontario. It is a beautiful canoe and it paddles like a dream. It just glides through the water! (I am hoping you are reading this Kim (tell Jackie, too) that I am practicing my solo(ness) and am enjoying it!) The lake has some rookeries that have several different species of seabirds in the trees... some are dead trees that have different ones on them...which makes it most interesting for photographing. Also, the lake is suppose to be filled with Alligators...but we didn't see any. Hence, the name: "Safety Harbor". I am posting photos of my canoe and then will add photos of Macky's canoe in another post. His canoe was bought in Penetanguishene, Ontario. He says he loves it! So, we are both happy paddlers!


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More photos of Alligator Lake in Safety Harbor, FL

Additional photos taken today. Was following Macky on the water at Alligator Lake and here are some photos of his new canoe bought in Penetanguishene. It is also a Chesnut.


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Great photos....and post....good technique....Kim would be proud of you much easier too in your own (shorter) canoe though....Macky bought two nice canoes....or rather one nice canoe for each of you....good they float well....especially in a place called Alligator Lake LOL LOL
I really liked the photos Patty! I will pass on your joy to Jackie! But whats up with that paddling solo from the stern seat..Windvane!

I have to look up where Safety Harbor is. I never envisioned paddling Florida in August. I am in love with winter paddling in Florida. While most canoeists look North, they might consider looking South. Florida has more canoeing than Minnesota!
( and yikes..more bugs in summer!)

Soloing a wood canvas canoe is really soothing for the soul, isn't it?
Quote: But whats up with that paddling solo from the stern seat..Windvane!

Could that be a 'recovery' position LOL LOL....

Looks like you're both hiking the canoes over well in other photos...
Hi Kim,

Glad you enjoyed the photos and thanks for passing the word on to Jackie. Tell her I said "Hello".
Well, believe it or not, I am not at the stern. I am actually at the bow, paddling backwards.

Ah, and yes, it is soothing to the soul doing a Solo in a wood canvas canoe......feels heavenly!

Oh, and the bugs aren't bad at all. It is a little warm...but I am use to the here. Just dress lightly, wear a hat, and your good to go.

Safety Harbor is located in the middle of the state on the West Coast side....look for Tampa/St. Petersburg area. It is in that vicinity.

Hope all is well with you.

Take care,
Hi Mike,

Thanks for your nice comments....the canoes do handle well. I can't believe how fun the solo is!

Maybe one of these days, we will see a real live "gator" so I can post one on here for ya.

Catch ya later, Alligator!

Some more photos of Alligator Lake in Safety Harbor Florida

Some more photos of Alligator Lake on a different trip. Wanted to share some wildlife. No alligators, yet. One of these days! So, be on the look-out for that an upcoming adventure paddle. We know they are in the lake...just not in view when we have been out paddling. These are some of the birds, the rookeries, and even an Osprey in a tree that I spotted and zoomed in on. This was one of the BEST paddles that we saw lots of birds and the water was calm until a storm started to brew. We paddled in quickly and got loaded up before a big Thunderstorm and lots of rain hit. Such is summertime in Florida....


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cont. photos of Alligator Lake -Safety Harbor FL

photos...more photos....and some more photos....


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photos added of Alligator Lake- Safety Harbor FL

Rookeries....and Blue Heron.


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More photos of Alligator Lake in Safety Harbor, FL

the rookeries are the birds are of different species...and colors. Passing by as you paddle they look like statues....yet so life-like. They even look kinda like a totem pole!


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Last of it a plane or a bird? Alligator Lake in Safety Harbor FL

I first saw a bird flying in the sky.....and seconds later an airplane in the same spot. Just photo's of two items flying in the sky.....the end. However, the posts has the airplane first...but we all know what came first.

P.S. Hope the next photos of Alligator Lake we will have an alligator or two to share.


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Looks like a neat place... any facilities which could host a WinterAssembly? I'll come if you guarantee an alligator...!
Hi Dan,

Yeah, it is a neat place! I am sure we could guarantee you an Alligator....they are abundant....they are just camera shy, I guess.
Dan brought up a great idea....a Winter Assembly in Florida....especially for those of us stuck up in the Great White North....or any place that is cold and has could even be tied into the Florida FreeStyle Symposium....worth thinking over....even without a gator

Great photos Patty....those heron rookeries are always cool places....used to take a canoe trip in Haliburton near an old rookery that looked like an 'apartment block' of many nests in different trees (each tree containing several nests)....
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Hi Mike,

A Winter Assembly in F. L. A. does sound good. (Dan's got a good idea) We will have to work on that one! :) Glad you enjoyed the photos of the birds! Would like to paddle in Haliburton to see the rookeries up your way! As a matter of fact, I would love to paddle in alot of different places, states, countries..... Is there such a thing as "canoe fever"? My canoe is calling me.....gotta go...think it wants to talk to me about going for a paddle in the next day or two......
"I would love to paddle in alot of different places, states, countries..... "

So much water, so little time... Doesn't retirement sound good?
A mini assembly is a big undertaking...perhaps a week or less of day trips?

Florida FreeStyle Symposium is in Yulee FL ( exit 3 just south of the GA state line on 95). Dates next year still to be confirmed. March 16-20. There has been a tradition for several years of pre symposia trips. In 2011 we did a few days in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Stephen C Foster State Park in Fargo right on the water has six person cottages for rent for $120 a night(2011). Two full baths, full screen porch with rockers, full kitchen and living and dining room . Two bedrooms. People five and six can use the living room futon.

Camping with full hookups at the same site..tenters do have indoor flush toilets and hot showers.

And yes the park can supply you with a healthy dose of (freestyle judges..eek)alligators.

After the symposium people often take off in various directions for more trips. Last year there was a post symposium trip to Okefenokee and several others wandered off to the spring fed creeks of Ocala National Forest. We loved the facilities of Juniper Springs Campground. Its not too far east of Ocala..we went and had some dinners out.

Temps were warm but they can be cool!


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This thread sure brings back memories. Many years ago when I lived in FL after work I would night fish for 'lunkers' back in the cypress on Orange Lake, in a green plastic canoe. Fishing wasn't very good when those red eyes were on the water around the canoe, sometimes several pairs. Folks would ask if I was worried the gators would attack the canoe. I'd tell them no self respecting gator would attack a plastic canoe, but I had thought of painting her red so they wouldn't come a courtin'.

"Canoe Fever" is chronic, no cure. Although collecting many conoes will make you feel as though you have the 'fever' under control, they are all placebo's. The best medicine is having them on the water.

We really enjoyed the pics.

Dave & Peggy

Dan, we'll look forward to the announcement of dates for the upcoming Winter Assembly
Now now guys and gals,we have to set parameters. It can be as loose as " we are paddling here on xx date" and everyone feed and lodge themselves to we "stay eat and paddle here". That is a tough cookie!

It's not quite fair to load on to one member... Dan.. Anyone involved in the actual Annual Assembly location site selection knows how hard it is to satisfy everyone.

Another option is to come paddle with FreeStylers. We don't require Lycra nor posing. Its just about making the most out of what your elegant craft has to offer. Make it obey your every command. Yes you can remain upright.

The Florida Freestyle event is held at the Florida State College at Jacksonville, Betty P. Cook Nassau Center. The Outdoor Center hosts us as it houses 40 people dorm style at an off time for them . College campuses are your best bet off peak. We have over two years found that we like our site because it offers really great motel deals and the ambience of Amelia Island and good dining. (And we also have a super caterer on site for those choosing not to venture afar) Non paddling spouses have been happy with off campus activities like boat tours and shopping and hiking.

Its within an hour of the east side of Okefenokee and 10 minutes of Lofton Creek which offers inland and tidal salt marsh canoeing. Yes we have fresh water outdoor spigots to rinse your craft afterwards so that all the brass tacks don't corrode.

somehow I feel I stepped into a really deep pile . Now that I volunteered and blabbed I have to do or at least help. That's OK.

Do we have a Florida Chapter?