Braving the Waves — Kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico

Domanic and Zachary Miele brave the waves in the Gulf of Mexico in their Sea Eagle 370

We regularly receive photos, letters, and e-mails from Sea Eagle boaters. Here’s a note from today’s inbox.

“My family and I love our Sea Eagle inflatable kayak. My son and his friends use it locally in the streams and rivers of Pennsylvania and have had quite a few adventures.  We bought the Sea Eagle because of the information on your website, the ability to transport it so easily, and because of the great price.  I recommend Sea Eagle, it’s one tough kayak that can take a beating.  From the rocks and trees in the streams of Pennsylvania, to the waves in the Gulf of Mexico, my family and I have definitely tested your kayak and it has never let us down. Thank you for an excellent quality product.”  — Terrence Miele

We followed up with Mr. Miele to learn a bit more about his Sea Eagle adventures with his family. Terrence told us his two teenage sons, Domanic, 16, and Zachary, 18,  take river trips in southwestern Pennsylavnia. He drives them to a launch point and they’ll spend the whole day out on the Youghiogheny River, floating and fishing. “They call me six or seven hours later and I pick them up downriver,” says Terrence. “They just love it.”

The Youghiogheny (or “Yough” — pronounced “Yok”), a tributary of the Monongahela River, runs about 122 miles through West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. In colonial times, it was a travel route for pioneers. Today, the Yough is a popular kayaking river and fishing spot for brown and rainbow trout.

“They’re amazed at how tough the Sea Eagle is,” says Terrence. “They’re teens and haven’t put a hole in it yet. They get into shallow water, tree limbs, and rocks. It really takes a beating.”

Road Trip

The Mieles take family trips to the Barrier Islands off the Florida Panhandle. And their Sea Eagle packs right along with them in the van they drive from Pennsylvania to Florida. “For as big as it is, the Sea Eagle packs quite small,” says Terrence.

And when you and your boys are all over six feet tall, size matters. “We bought the 330 initially,” Terrence said. “We’re all over six feet tall so we then got the bigger Sea Eagle 370.”  The Sea Eagle 330 measures 11’ 2” stem to stern; the 370 is almost 1-1/2 feet longer at 12’ 6”.

One of the Miele’s favorite spots in the Gulf is Navarre Beach on Santa Rose Island, near Pensacola. It’s one of the Barrier Islands where “Jaws 2” was filmed in 1978.

Surf’s Up

Waves were extreme — all the more fun!

On a memorable day in the Gulf, the surf was raging as Terrence, Domanic, and Zachary piled into their Sea Eagle to brave the waves. Terrence tells us, “The waves were easily 8 or 10 feet over your head. We’d go out in the Sea Eagle and ride the waves back in. It’s just so much fun, we did it all day long until we were exhausted.”

All the kayak adventuring started when Terrence’s wife, Kelly, rented a hard-hull kayak. The Mieles got a taste of ocean kayaking and quickly decided to get a Sea Eagle of their own. “It’s not cheap to rent kayaks,” says Terrence. “Rent a kayak two or three times and you might as well own one.” And, he says, “for the amount of fun we’ve had in the Sea Eagle, it’s more than paid for itself.”

Next up for the Mieles: a summer camping trip to Pymatuning Lake, a man-made lake that spans the border between Pennsylvania and Ohio; a popular spot for fishing, camping, sightseeing, hiking, biking, swimming, and kayaking, of course!

— Do you have Sea Eagle photos & stories to share? E-mail them to us!

5 thoughts on “Braving the Waves — Kayaking in the Gulf of Mexico

  1. I whitewater rafted on the Yough when I lived in Ohio. Coincidentally, I moved to Navarre, FL in 2001 and missed the whitewater rafting experience so I purchased a Sea Eagle 330 to use at Navarre Beach also. Lots of fun! Have also rafted on bays and local rivers. Took my Sea Eagle to Missouri in the summer of 2009 for a trip down the Meramec River at the state park. Love the versatility and how easy it is to transport.

  2. Looks very exciting, It’s very cold and a lot of snow up here in the north east, but spring will be here before we know it.Can’t wait to get my 330 out in the water. Really looking forward to Spring.

  3. Looks like great fun. As a Firefighter and /water rescue person I would like to see PFDs on anyone in the water let alone the ocean in large waves. Lets have fun and be safe.

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