Rick is the friendly Floridian face for this American Faces installment. My family and I met Rick as he guided us in kayaks through the mangrove tunnels near Anna Maria Island, Florida. This guy who has lived his whole life in the Anna Maria area knows the mangroves tunnels like the veins on the back of his tan hands, which was evident as he adroitly lead on a winding and informative trip. He is wonderfully knowledgeable about the aquatic creatures that are plentiful below the water, the small crabs that call the mangroves home, and the birds that had their wings set on the coastal breeze above the bay as we kayaked. Men like Rick are gems. We were given more than just a tour as he talked about life and how much the mangroves mean to him. The gentle strokes of the kayak paddle as he guides people through the mangroves have been a salve of sorts for this man with a salt and pepper beard. Guiding visitors is not his first vocation, he is a 61 year old retired respiratory therapist.The sights and sounds he saw in his four decades in the healthcare industry with most of those years as a respiratory therapist were not always easy. I suppose one can say the saltwater has been good for his soul.
Slowing down and taking time to paddle gave my family and me time to experience the mangroves and the serenity they have to offer. It also gave us a time to meet Rick, a man who shared a bit of his life with us on a sunny day in Anna Maria, Florida.
If you are in the mood for a kayak tour in Florida check out this link: https://www.amipaddleboard.com/