Check in at the kayaking center in a marina in St Thomas’ Mangrove Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary & Marine Reserve, located southeast of St Thomas and a short drive away from the capital of Charlotte Amalie. Stash your belongings into a locker and slip on a life vest.
Receive a full safety briefing, with kayaking and paddling instructions, before climbing into a tandem sit-on-top kayak. Your naturalist and kayak guides lead you on a peaceful paddle through the protected shallow mangrove passageways of Benner Bay estuarine ecosystem and St Thomas East End Reserves toward Bird Island. A photographer accompanies your group to capture shots of your 90-minute outing, and photos will be available for purchase later at the marina.
As you navigate the watery maze, observe snowy egrets and brown pelicans nesting in the trees, and see if you can spot herons, frigatebirds, yellow warblers or hummingbirds. Learn about migration patterns, including which birds live in the reserve year-round and which ones visit only seasonally. Lay down your paddle every so often and take out your binoculars for magnified views. As you wade through seagrass beds, peer over and glimpse fish and other invertebrates darting by.
Paddle around Bird Island and then continue around Bovoni Cay. In the water, stingrays and spotted rays may glide by your boat; look up and you might see birds swooping toward their nightly roost. Watch the sun melt over the Caribbean and the rippling waters light up in fiery oranges and reds before calming into an evening blue. Arrive back at the marina where you started.