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Game Changers Article in Golden Isles Magazine

The Game Changers article in the July/August 2018 edition of Golden Isles Magazine features Kingfisher Paddleventures owner Norm Leonard, who shared some of his thoughts about kayaking with Golden Isles Magazine editor Bethany Leggett. We’re very excited to share this news with you and couldn’t be more proud of the ecotours we provide to visitors year-round.

Game Changers article in Golden Isles Magazine about kayaking with Kingfisher owner Norm Leonard

You can find the entire magazine online here. It’s well worth your time because each edition is filled with information about activities, restaurants, shops, beaches, and other attractions throughout the Golden Isles. There’s much more to the magazine than the Game Changers column, and we encourage you to check it out!


Kingfisher Paddleventures offers paddleboarding and kayaking adventures in the Golden Isles as the area’s only ecotourism firm owned and operated by a PhD Conservation Biologist and Ecologist. Every outing is different, and our programming is dynamic as we respond to the wants and needs of our customers, the water conditions, the weather, and even the seasons. We take you on the tour YOU want, to the fullest extent possible. So some tours are “eco-light” while others are a full-on crash course in coastal ecology. Every group is different, and we understand that. We also get that you’re on vacation and might not want something that’s “too heavy” while others really enjoy the opportunity to “geek out” about the birds, plants, and ecosystems they see.

Our idea is that people only save what they love, so helping you fall in love with the area is our top priority. If this means that we drift in a tidal creek while your children swim, play, and laugh, then so be it! We promise you’ll have a blast. And we might even join your children (and you?) in the mud or for a quick swim. But we’re prepared to get serious, too, and we’re ready to lead you in a ranging conversation about coastal ecology the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else!

Kingfisher Closed on July 4th

Kingfisher Paddleventures will be closed July 4th in observance of Independence Day. We wish everyone a safe and fun-filled celebration!

United States Navy Colorguard photo - Kingfisher will be closed July 4th

Happy Birthday, USA!

We will be open for July 3rd, and business operations will resume the full schedule on July 5th. You can make reservations online or call us at 912-230-4323

If you’re looking for something to do on the 4th, we recommend checking out any of the events listed on the Golden Isles Calendar of Events. There are several places to catch some live music, see fireworks, and grab a bite to eat. The difficult part is choosing which of the available options you want to try first!


Father’s Day 2018 – Dads Paddle Free

Check out our Father’s Day 2018 promotion!

Dads paddle free Father’s Day 2018!

fathers day 2018

Looking for the perfect gift for your dad? Then take advantage of this Father’s Day 2018 promotion and give him an experience that will create memories you both cherish for years to come! Our paddleboard and kayak tours are unique experiences that any nature lover or outdoor enthusiast will enjoy. Check out our complete product line and choose the excursion that most interests you or your mom. Then book online and use the promo code DAD get your dad’s tour for FREE. Each father must be accompanied by at least one paying customer, and your tour must take place June 15-17, 2018.

You can apply this promotion to any tour on St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Brunswick, or the Satilla River. However, this promotion cannot be applied to rentals.

fathers day 2018 promotion

fathers day 2018 give the gift of an experience

As always, you are welcome to call or text me at 912-230-4323 or email me at norm@kfpaddle.com for clarification of any product description, promotion, etc.

Wishing you all the a great start to the summer!

-nl

Mother’s Day 2018 Promotion: Moms Paddle Free!

Check out our Mother’s Day 2018 promotion!

Moms paddle free Mother’s Day 2018!

mother's day 2018 promotion - moms paddle free

Looking for the perfect gift for your mom? Then take advantage of this Mother’s Day 2018 promotion and give her an experience that will create memories you both cherish for years to come! Our paddleboard and kayak tours are unique experiences that any nature lover or outdoor enthusiast will enjoy. Check out our complete product line and choose the excursion that most interests you or your mom. Then book online and use the promo code “MOM” without the quotes to get your mom’s tour for FREE. Each mother must be accompanied by at least one paying customer, and your tour must take place May 11-13, 2018.

You can apply this promotion to any tour on St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Brunswick, or the Satilla River. However, this promotion cannot be applied to rentals.

mother's day 2018 promotion - give mom a great memory mother's day 2018 promotion - your mom can paddleboard free

Also, in an effort to encourage people to book online, we are offering another promotion for every customer that makes their own reservation. When you book online, you can enter a second promo code – “online” – and your entire reservation will be discounted an additional 2%. This blog post is the only place we are currently advertising our online booking promotion for the moment. We will roll out a larger campaign later in the month.

As always, you are welcome to call or text me at 912-230-4323 or email me at norm@kfpaddle.com for clarification of any product description, promotion, etc.

One final note: Kingfisher will be closed May 6-9. We’ll re-open on May 10, and then we’ll remain open for the rest of the season.

Wishing you all the a great start to May!

-nl

mother's day 2018 promotion - your mom can kayak free

Thanksgiving With Kingfisher

tl;dr – Thanksgiving is a great time to go paddling and bond with friends or family. Call 912-230-4323 to book.

Thanksgiving is one our favorite times of year, and it’s really encouraging to see the Golden Isles bustling with so much activity as families and friends begin to gather for the holiday.

Thanksgiving With Kingfisher - sunset over the marsh on St. Simons Island

Gatherings and holiday celebrations often mean that people will be searching for activities to fill their days, so we want to remind you that Kingfisher Paddleventures is open. All of our normal tours on St. Simons and Jekyll are available, but we recommend the kayaking tours over the paddleboard tours this time of year. With that said, we’re happy to take you out on paddleboards if that’s what you really want. We enjoy both. And, as always, we welcome all ages and skill levels. Our tours a really great way for your Thanksgiving guests to reconnect and bond.

In addition to the tours, we also have rentals available. All rentals include free delivery and pick-up so you can arrange to meet us anywhere in the Golden Isles. We’ll bring the gear to you, you can go paddle, and then we’ll pick up the gear when you’re done. All you have to do is show up and have some Thanksgiving fun! We do all the work.

Whether you want a guided tour or want to explore on your own, we truly have something for every paddler. So we hope you’ll give us a call and add some adventure to your Thanksgiving break.

See you on the water!

Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference

tourism conferenceThe Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference is meeting on Jekyll Island this week and we’re attending the meeting to learn about and promote ecotourism in Georgia. Please say hello and introduce yourself if you’re at the meeting too. We’d love to meet you!

Kingfisher Paddleventures is working to improve its ecotours and build its repertoire of ecotourism products, both on and off the water. So, in addition to saying hello, please feel free to tell us your suggestions or ask questions about the services that we provide. If you’re not at the tourism conference, we’d still love to hear from you. Tell us what you want!

We want to make ecotourism products that really get you excited! We want you fall in love with the beaches and marshes, and we want to be the ones who help you share that love with everyone else. So, whether you join us on a paddleboard tour or prefer to go kayaking, hopefully our product line will grow to include the things that interest you if it doesn’t already.

It’s our hope that attending and talking to people at the Georgia Governor’s Tourism Conference will help us identify ways to better serve our market on Jekyll and St. Simons islands. We also want to learn more about other ecotourism companies in Georgia – what are they offering, who are their customers, and what do their customers most enjoy? The answers to these questions, in addition to the feedback we solicit from our own customers, will help us build the best product possible.

Happy paddling!

Come Help Us With The Litter Clean Up!

Please come help us with the litter clean up this evening at Massengale Park on St. Simons Island! Kingfisher Paddleventures is partnered with Keep Golden Isles Beautiful to help with litter clean-up efforts in the aftermath of Frat Beach activities.

 

We will be at Massengale Park from 5:00 to 7:00 PM to collect litter left behind by the crowds on Frat beach today.

Huge crowds came to our beaches today in advance of the annual Georgia-Florida football game in Jacksonville, FL on Saturday. In past years, the crowds have surged into the thousands, with most participants being students from UGA who have come to the island as part of a weekend-long celebration of the rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Gators.

As with any large crowd, the Frat Beach partiers always leave litter in their wake. Unfortunately, the fact that they’re leaving that litter on a beach where the tides easily wash the trash into the ocean, time is of the essence. We need collect and dispose of the litter as quickly as possible in order to help keep the beach and marshes clean and safe for both wildlife and people.

Kingfisher Paddleventures invites you to come help us with the litter clean up this evening. As a company that makes its money off paddleboard and kayak tours of the island, we are eager to make sure that the beaches and parking lots are clean following today’s events.

Kingfisher Paddleventures Is Listed in 365 Atlanta Family!

Kingfisher Paddleventures is proud to be one the businesses listed in the most recent update of “St Simons Island: An Insider’s Guide To Stay, Eat And Play,” a travel advice article on 365 Atlanta Family! The post, by Sue Rodman, includes information about St. Simons Island and its weather, a listing of hotels and resorts, a list of things to do during your stay, and some information about the island’s famed “tree spirits.”

365 Atlanta family guide for St Simons Island

We’re very pleased to be included in the list of family activities on St. Simons Island and hope that you’ll come paddleboard or kayak with us soon. We strive to provide an experience that is both fun and educational that your entire family can enjoy. Please give us a call at 912-230-4323 or read more about our services on this web site.

Record Numbers Of Peregrine Falcons!

peregrine falcons in the Golden Isles - Photo by Pat Leary.
A peregrine falcon in flight. Photo by Pat Leary via The Brunswick News article on 16 October 2017.

Record numbers of peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) are being observed in the Golden Isles, according to an article that appeared in The Brunswick News on Monday, 16 October 2017.

The falcons are known for their high-speed dives and taking prey mid-air. The picture shown here, which I copied from the article in The Brunswick News, shows a falcon in flight as caught on camera by Pat Leary. It’s a good depiction of how the birds often appear when viewed through binoculars.

Although the Cornell Lab of Ornithology profile page for peregrine falcons says that the IUCN lists the birds as a species of least concern, they are very rare in Georgia despite having been common in the past. The cause of their decline along the east coast is attributed to the widespread use of DDT, a pesticide that was once used to control mosquitos but has since been outlawed.

Each year during October, peregrine falcons and other birds of prey, collectively referred to as “raptors,” migrate from their northern summertime habitats to winter habitats. You can come on one of our birding tours to try and see these majestic animals for yourself. Give us a call at 912-230-4323 for tour availability. You can read more about peregrine falcons on our sister site, Southeast Ecology, where we are building a repository of natural history information specific to the southeastern United States.

Paddleboards Don’t Belong In Trees

Yes, that’s a paddleboard in a tree. No, paddleboards don’t belong in trees.paddleboards don't belong in trees 1

paddleboards don't belong in trees 2All’s well that ends well… a (possibly too honest) look behind the scenes of a small business and the sometimes nerve wracking adventure of entrepreneurship.

paddleboards don't belong in trees 3Last night, a series of very strong storms with crazy torrential rains and high winds ripped their way across the marshes between Brunswick and the islands. I happened to be pulling my paddleboard trailer across the Sidney Lanier Bridge in the middle of it all. Why? No particular reason other than needing to get home from Jekyll Island after sharing dinner with my mother at The Wharf.

As I was crossing the bridge in the middle of very heavy rain and strong winds, a strap broke and a paddleboard was torn from the trailer. It flew into the night, right over the side of the bridge and into the dark abyss below.

paddleboards don't belong in trees 4My mom, who was following in her car behind me, described what she saw as “a really big frisbee flying off the trailer and into the night.” Thankfully no one was hurt. I was just missing a board, and I was really wet from having got out of my truck to investigate.

I was pretty sure the board was lost forever, a sacrifice stolen by the gods of the marsh for the living I make plying their waters.

paddleboards don't belong in trees 5Well, this morning I decided to go search for my board. And I found it, too! It was in a tree near the edge of the marsh some 60+ feet below the bridge and – this is the truly incredible part – undamaged! Not a scratch, despite being blown over the side of a bridge and landing in (on?) a tree!

paddleboards don't belong in trees 6paddleboards don't belong in trees 7First pic shows the board as I initially saw it from the bridge this morning. Each picture after that shows the board from a closer view, and the last two show it was undamaged (I’m still shocked at that part). Crazy, huh?

(The preceding text is re-posted from the @kfpaddle Instagram account; read on to find out what we learned.)


OK, we admit it, the story is bazaar and funny/weird. And people are as likely to laugh at us as they are to laugh at the story.

We’re OK with all that. The Tale Of The Flying Paddleboard holds some important reminders and lessons for us. Here’s what we gleaned from our misadventure:

First, not every “disaster” is as bad as it seems. When my paddleboard was ripped from the trailer and blown over the side of the bridge by gale force winds, I was pretty certain that I had just seen the last of that board. Furthermore, my mind more or less went straight to the “oh no!” stage and the “ouch! that’s gonna hurt the budget” stage. Fortunately, we were very lucky this time around. No one was hurt, the paddleboard was not damaged, and the budget is no worse than it was before we tried playing the SUP version of Mary Poppins.

Second, things could always be worse. In this case, the board could have blown backward off the trailer, straight into my mom’s windshield. It didn’t, but it could have. So, what I thought was a bad situation wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. It’s good to remember that, even when you’re pretty sure you just witnessed the birth of a fiasco, there’s always a worse scenario. Helps put thing in perspective.

Third, paddleboards are odd things. We’ve had boards get dinged and scratched and nearly destroyed by small falls/drops/bumps, so the fact that a board can survive falling more than 60 feet, pushed by gale force winds, and not have a single new scratch on it is …. well, it’s simply amazing and very weird.

Fourth, plan for the unexpected. Paddleboards don’t belong in trees, and they’re also supposed to stay on the trailer when you strap them in place. So, no, we never saw this problem coming. But, thanks to a general preparedness ethic, we were able to deal with situation smoothly and effectively. Remember, when things go sideways (literally, in this case), you have choices. You can choose to react, you can choose to freeze, and you can choose to respond. We responded, rather than reacting, and we were able to 1) recover our board and 2) limit the damage to our budget/business.

So, to sum things up, we have this list:

  • Some of the weird things that happen in life are beyond credulity.
  • The lens of time often shows us that what looked disastrous in the moment really isn’t so bad. This perspective can help keep us calm.
  • On the flip side of the perspective coin is the idea that things could, in fact, be worse. Be grateful that they aren’t.
  • Whatever you think was destroyed in a particular situation might be just fine. Although we would have expected the paddleboard to be smashed in this example, it was actually OK.
  • It pays to be prepared.

Most entrepreneurs have equally bazaar stories if they’ve been in business for any length of time. Striking out on your own isn’t for the faint of heart, as seen herein, but it can be richly rewarding. So take these episodes for the learning opportunities that they are, make sure you’re paying attention to the lessons hiding beneath your frustration and angst, and then move forward!

Kingfisher Paddleventures sunset on Tybee Island