My concession to the cool temps, I guess it was in the low 60's at 9 am, was a light sweatshirt over the usual T. I began paddling at 9:25, letting a group of 10 or so paddlers that was putting in at Rogers Park as I arrived, get ahead of me. A few minutes into the paddle, I paused at Hospital Hole, to see if any manatees were in its warm waters. I waited a few minutes, none surfaced, so I continued paddling upstream.
I completed the upstream paddle at noon.
Weeki Wachee Springs is now a Florida State Park. As of November 1, the famous mermaids are State employees.
There is a kayak rental concession just before the tour boat dock. I saw no one preparing to launch. Perfect. Chances were I would see few people on the way back. I did see one large group, on the Park tour boat. That pontoon was one of two power boats I saw all day. Talk about perfect. Noting but blue skies (and a red shouldered hawk) above.
Emerald green waters below
Another aquatic mammal.
My usual Weeki Wachee routine is to snorkel part of the way back. With the chill, I decided hold off on the snorkel. Until I saw a couple manatees. I beached the yak and got in.
Taking these pictures, I gained new respect for the power of Weeki Wachee's current. I got out of the kayak, drifted downstream, taking pictures. I then turned around to swim back. I swam in place, making no headway upstream. I had to hug the shore, out of the main flow, to get back to the yak. I got back, then made another downstream trip. The current pushed me right over the top of the non-barnacled manatee, a huge creature. That was to close, and not wanting to disturb the manatees , I swam along the edge of the reeds where the yak was stashed, walking the final yards.
Downstream, past a great blue heron
I was unable to get a picture of a bald eagle that soared overhead. As I got further downstream, I encountered other paddlers, local residents and folks on a quick out and back from Rogers Park. Back at Hospital Hole, aka Fish Hospital, a stream of bubbles rose. I had to investigate, so I beached the kayak on the shore revealed by low tide, and dove into the hole. Not all the way, its 130 feet deep. Any manatees were out of sight of my limited diving skills. It was neat to go into cool water, go to a warm layer, then back up to the cool layer near the surface.
A final photo before I landed at 4:00. Green heron