Bird Rookery Paddle
Distance: 2.90 miles
Level: Novice paddlers
Summary: This route often is used by the Marine Discovery Center for its beginning paddler tours. The beginning portion of the paddle takes you through the Salt Marsh Restoration Project -- a Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission project. You also will paddle along a seawall built by the Turnbull Settlement in 1766-76 and also take in a view of homes along Riverside Drive. The route passes under the North Causeway and through the New Smyrna Beach City Marina. Watch for big boats because you will be at the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The rookeries are two mangrove islands where water birds choose to nest year-round. You may see birds on the nest during mating season – February-June. Pelicans inhabit the area the rest of the year.
The islands were protected by Theodore Roosevelt – a bird enthusiast – in 1908. These are the only two rookery islands in the area that are protected by Presidential order. Both islands are just east of the NSB Marina.
Please use binoculars or a camera zoom lens for a closer look at the nesting birds and keep a good distance between you and the rookery.
Directions: Launch behind the Marine Discovery Center, 520 Barracuda Drive. Paddle to the left, around the corner and then head west. At the end of the property line, make a sharp left to enter a small canal. At the end of the canal, make a hard right and continue around to again paddle west. Continue until you come to a large opening on the left. Make a turn to the left and travel over many oyster beds. When you are in an open area, turn to the right and go around. At Riverside Drive, turn left. Travel under the North Causeway and through the New Smyrna Beach Marina to the two rookery islands.
On the return, head north along Riverside Drive until you get to a large opening at Wayne Avenue. (Riverside Drive ends here.) Make a right turn and paddle east to return to the launch site.
Launch GPS: N 29 02' 16.24" W 80 55' 08.36"