Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Haulover Canal

Sunday, December 23, 2oo7 I paid a visit to Haulover Canal. I arrived at noon, having stayed in bed until 9:45 am. That's what a 3 am anithistimine will do to you. I hoped the salt air and sunshine would make me feel better. Haulover is an easy paddle when the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon are calm, and the put in as right on the water. Perfect for my flu/cold weakened body.

I saw my first manatee of the day from the car. Driving over Haulover Bridge, I noticed a large crowd below at the Manatee Overlook. I then saw what the people were watching, a manatee fluke rose out of the water. Nice start. I crossed the Bridge, turned left, opposite the Manatee Deck, and drove along the Canal to the edge of Indian River. The dolphin in the first photo patrolled the near shore water as I put in.
I paddled west into the Indian River, pausing to watch the dolphin. I then made my way to Mullet Head Island, a bird sanctuary about a mile off shore. Spotted three more dolphins on the way, one solo and a pair. Mullet Head was full of pelicans, seagulls and cormorants. A few herons and egrets, and to my delight, several rosette spoonbills.

After circling the Island, I headed back towards the Canal. Towards, not to.

A alternate channel is to the south of the Canal entrance. Too shallow for the big boats that used the dredged Canal, its a good place to avoid traffic. It rejoins the Canal at a spot I call Dolphin Cove. It lived up to its billing. I heard, and saw the remants of a splash as I approached. In the cove, the dolphin repeated its leap. To bad I was slow on the draw

I did get a couple dorsal shots. I moved on to Bairs Cove. I almost always see manatees here. A man on shore said, "No manatees all day." Maybe they were waiting for me. One surfaced just off the yak. Another, in the Canal, raised its fluke as it dove under a oncoming boat. I looked for more in the Cove, did not see any and paddled on. Just before the bridge a manatee swam along side for a bit. I then reached the Manatee Overlook. Overlookers asked if I had seen any manatees, I replied in the affirmative. They had yet to see any. Until I went past the deck and told the folks to look between a palm tree and my yak. Two manatees. One moved in front of the overlook. Here it is

I need to start charging for my manatee finding ability.

Moving on, I came to another break in the Canal, this one on the north side. This opens into a broad, shallow waterway, protected by a chain of spoil islands from the big water of the Indian River. I often see a manatee or two here. Today, six. Plus Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, osprey, fish, and several stingrays.

After chillin with the sea elephants I paddled through another break in shore and reentered the Canal. I looked for alligators, saw none in two spots where I've seen them on past paddles. Paddled the Lagoon for a while, then back to the Canal. The manatees were still where I had left them. More were at the Overlook. And, Dolphin Cove lived up to the moniker I have given it.

I end the tale with a avian gallery. Great Egret, ibis, Great Egret with ibisises? ibex ?
Tri colored heron, and reddish egret. A very pleasant five hours on the water. Unfortunately, I'm still sick. I'm not sure if I'll get out tommorow, Christmas Eve. Perhaps I should rest, considering I have to work four hours tomorrow night. Off Christmas, and I will be on, and perhaps in the water then.

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