Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blue Spring State Park

I had an unplanned visit to Blue Springs State Park today, Tuesday, October 28, 2008. My boss was asking for volunteers to work Saturday. I volunteered, getting a 2fer. The boss's good graces and a weekday afternoon on the water. I should have taken the half day tommorrow or Friday, but I'm a spur of the moment guy. By doing it today, I was not prepared- the yak was in the garage, not on the roof, so I had to go home.

The cool weather mentioned in the prior Tale has arrived. I wore long pants in Florida for the first time since, I'd guess, last March. I shed the jeans for swim trunks, got the yak on the Chevy and headed to Blue Spring.

The State Park has two parking areas. One convenient for launching, the other for swimming. I parked in the swim lot for the first time ever, wanting to minimize time in the cool air. I headed to the scuba entrance, up Run from the swim dock. A few folks were on the boardwalk, 2 swimmers in the Run. A gentlemen said four manatees were in the Run in the morning. I got ready to get in, and did not have the camera. It was either in the car or on the kitchen counter. Back to the car, it was there. Finally in the water, I swam up to the Spring. Dove down a few times, touched the log, then drifted down Run. Would I see a manatee ? No. All I saw was a single gar. At the swim dock, a woman said about this time yesterday, four manatees were in the swim area. Ah, the old "You shuuda been here yesterday" story. I swam back upstream to where I began, toweled off, got in the car, and drove to the other lot.

In another cool weather concession, I put on a light long sleeve shirt under a t-shirt. And a final weather change, I launched barefoot, toweled off my tootsies, putting shoes on in the yak- that way they weren't wet and cool.

Out on the St Johns, high blue skies, a brisk north wind. I let the wind push me south, then east towards Snake Creek. I looked for manatees across from the Creek, an area where I often see them, no luck.

This hawk was at the mouth of the Creek.

Snake Creek was semi-blocked, but not thick enough to prevent me from blasting through.

In the Creek, I heard the splash, saw the wake of an alligator bursting into the water. Had to be off a log, as the bank was nowhere to be seen, the Creek flowing over it. I was not in up the Creek very long, coming about and returning to Blue Spring.

Blue heron, great egret.

I entered the Run, crossing over the floating barrier that serves notice to motor boats to keep out. The movement startled something very big in a mess/mass of vegetation clinging to the barrier on my left. I had gator on my mind, but then, a manatee came out into view. Two actually, one big one small, had to be mother and calf. I kept my distance. There may have been a third manatee, but here, off the old launch area, the water was too dark to see the manatees from a distance unless they surfaced. So I can't say for sure if one big manatee was not the mom I saw earlier, or a second adult.

Up the Run I paddled. Just missed a close up pic of a red shouldered hawk. It was concentrating on something other than an approaching yaker. A small snake. Here is an anhinga, aka "snakebird" for its narrow neck.

This photo, and the opener, were taken atop Blue Spring.

Down the Run, one, two, three, turkeys flew from one bank to the other. A so-so pic.

This is the floating barrier described above, with cormorants.

My paddle was short, about 75 minutes. Got the yak on the car, drove back to the swim area lot. Another snorkel. I hoped the manatees decided to come up the Run. They did not. But I saw a lot more fish this swim, from the swim dock, to the scuba entrance and back. Gar, mullet and tarpon. Here are a couple poor fish pics. I hope to get an underwater case for the new camera soon.

It is turkey season at Blue Spring State Park, another flock roamed the grounds as I got the kayak atop the car.

A nice, unexpected afternoon on the water.


OldHorsetailSnake said...

Yeah, be a big spender and get the underwater fixup. I couldn't see no any fish in these pix -- but thanks for the try.

Dave said...

Hoss, I took your advice. Just ordered the "underwater fixup". So by next weekend, we should see lots many fish.