Sunday, September 28, 2008
I put in at the usual spot, the parking lot near the Eldora State House. Two anglers were blocking the narrow gap in the bushes with tackle, and a chaise lounge. They moved it a bit, as I muttered about why set up camp at the launch- there's a lot of shore to fish from, and docks.
Usually I paddle south, towards Turtle Mound, today, I went the other direction. The water level in the Lagoon is high, I was able to go in areas I haven't explored thanks to the water level.
Here I am paddling out one of the flooded areas.
I passed a couple fishing from their boat who told me they saw 6 manatees. Before or after that boat, I asked, pointing to a vessel near shore. Before. I said thank you, and paddled on.
Scanning the water, paying attention to the shoreline, I ddi not see any manatees. Perhaps they were beyond the other craft ? I continued, until I heard the distinctive exhale of a surfacing manatee. On my right, towards the middle of the Lagoon. I paddled out, and sure enough there were about six manatees. I watched them, and we were soon joined by the dolphin in the first photo. No good manatee photos.
Nice great blue heron.
I saw another 3 manatee. and 4 or five dolphins as I paddled past Castle Windy. Since I did not begin by paddling north, I paddled further south in Mosquito Lagoon than ever before.
Castle Windy and Turtle Mound are the two largest shell mounds in the Lagoon, at least in the National Seashore area.
I think I found another.
In addition to the aquatic mammals, I saw egrets, herons, great blue and tri colored, belted kingfishers, gulls, vultures, osprey, pelicans and lots of leaping fish. Here's a great egret.
And one of the many manatees.
I continued to see manatees and dolphins as I returned. A smaller group, 4, was where I saw the six earlier, this time joined by two dolphins.
As I neared Eldora, I said to my self I wanted to see 5 more mammals before landing. I was near the landing, so it would be tough. I "only" saw three. All manatees. I went beyond the landing, hoping to get to five, but saw no more. I landed at 3, a 4.5 hour day.
Time to catch the last 8 minutes of the Packer game at JB's Fish Camp. Can't win them all. But then, the last two innings of the Brewers wild card clincher. Along with oyster stew and a crab sandwich.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Back to the 21st century. I began the day at Anastasia State Park, south of St Augustine. A fantastic Park. 4 miles of Atlantic beach, maritime hammock, dunes, a sheltered, tidal lagoon.
I put in on the lagoon, Salt Run, at 9:35. In Florida "Run" usually refers to a short, spring fed stream. Salt Run is not spring fed. As I paddled, I thought, is there a spring near Manassas, VA ?
This is the view across from where I launched.
Here is the westward view.
The French, not the hurricane. You'll have to excuse the history lesson, but I think this stuff is fascinating, and its my site.
I left the Castillo, paddling south towards the Bridge of Lions. Another historic edifice, built in 1927. Its towers and lions are as much a part of the fabric of St Augustine at the Castillo San Marcos. So much so, to bring the aged bridge to 21st century standards, a temporary bridge has been built while work progresses on the Bridge of Lions. Once the Bridge is finished, the temporary bridge will be removed. Here's how it looks.
The horse and carriage was not the only one I saw. An alternative to the trolleys tours of the Ancient City.
I turned around shortly after this shot, having been out two hours.
A view of the City.
I crossed the Matanzas, and entered the Inlet. Its only a mile to the open Atlantic. I headed that way. But the current, boats coming from four directions at high speed, created a nasty, unpredictable chop. I miscalculated and took on what seemed to be several gallons. So, this is as close as I got to the ocean.
The two bird shot was taken from land the east shore of Salt Run. I had an easier time finding my lunch then the reddish egret, but we both were successful.
Sand dunes and cactus go together.
After lunch, I crossed the Run, landing at Lighthouse Park. I walked to the Lighthouse to discover it costs 9 bucks to climb. I had no money, so I just walked around the grounds.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
More Rock Springs Run scenics.
Three hours forty minutes up, just under four back. I stopped for a sandwich, and paddled/drifted to let people get well ahead of me. Saw about a dozen alligators.
After a near eight hour paddle, and getting the yak up the hill to the car, Wekiwa Springs was very refreshing.