Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island

As I have written before, there so many places to paddle within a short (2 hour) drive of my home, I can go months, in this case 17, before returning to a location. There is just one Caladesi Island Tale on Dave's Yak Tales, December 29, 2007. http://davesyaktales.blogspot.com/2007/12/caladesi-island.html Back then, thanks to a 10:30 start and the short winter day, I only visited Caladesi Island State Park. Today, Saturday May, 2009, with an 8:20 am start and a long spring day, I had plenty of time to explore both barrier islands.

I launched from the south side of the Dunedin Causeway, between Sail Honeymoon and a public restroom. The latter always welcome after a 107 mile drive, the former a sail and kayak rental place. Caladesi Island is on the other side of St Joseph Sound.

I don't remember the "Combustion Motor Exclusion" signs being so far from Caladesi's shore. Halfway across the Sound. I like it. The beach in the background is the north tip of Caladesi Island. Paddling south, the sand gives way to mangroves. And rosette spoonbills.

And great egrets.

Osprey, too.

One third of the way down the mangrove lined shore, a channel leads to Caladesi's interior. A 99 slip marina is at the end. Paddlers land at a low, floating duck. On the way in, I like to take detours into areas with, "Combustion Motor Exclusion" signs. Better chance to see more great egrets and tri colored herons.

Pelican at the marina.

It took me less than an hour, with scenic detours, to get to the marina. No sense stopping so soon. I entered the 3.25 paddling trail.

Through the mangroves in the interior.

Back to the marina via the Sound.

The yak in the mangroves photo is from a wrong turn. If you stay on the trail, they aren't quite that thick. The only bird I saw as a yellow crowned night heron. I heard more, but they were well hidden. The trail exits the mangroves at the southern tip of Caladesi Island, then follows the shore north back to the marina. I headed north first, exploring Scharrer Bayou. Seem ed like a good spot for manatees. Didn't see any. Lots of leaping fish. Mullet mostly. Perhaps a seatrout or two. I returned to the marina at 11:45, 2.5 hours after I left.

I scrambled out of the yak and pulled it on the dock next to the two you see. The dock is in bad shape. Be careful not to get splinters. The 2xwhatever board on the edge is loose. On land, it was time for lunch. I usually pack a lunch, but last week, Ed, of the Green Wave Forum, posted a report on Caladesi Island and sang the praises of the cheeseburger at Caladesi Cafe. So instead of my usual sandwich, I had a cheeseburger. Maybe I just had a bad one, or maybe Ed was affected by the sun on his paddle, or the view. I thought it was average. Burger, not the view.

The cheese burger I had Sunday, at the Breakers, now that is a good burger. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Burger consumed, I headed to the beach.

If you don't have a boat, a ferry runs from Honeymoon Island State Park. Add the $10 adult, $6 child ferry rode to the $5 per carload entrance fee, and Caladesi can be expensive. Keeps the crowds down.

Of course if I took a picture from the boardwalk, the beach would look packed. Folks don't want to tote the chairs, coolers, umbrellas and other beach accouterments any further than they have to. I walked down the beach to find relative seclusion. Went in the Gulf. I think the first time in salt water since North Carolina in August.

Private tour boats can also be hired to visit Caladesi. My first visit was on a boat like this.

When these tours "guarantee" dolphins, ask if they mean real ones.

I make no promises, just photograph what I see.

I had some concern about getting into the kayak from the dock. It had been a while since I entered a kayak from a dock, and the cockpit on the new yak is much more narrow than the old. Less stable as well. I recalled reading about a way to enter. Put the paddle behind you, lying on the kayak and the dock. Hold on to the paddle, hands behind you. With your weight on your arms, put your legs in the yak. Lower yourself in. Worked like a charm.

Two dolphins, right where the No Combustion Zone ends. They were headed to the Gulf through Hurricane Pass. Lots of boats coming in and out of the Pass separating Caladesi and Honeymoon, so not a good place to linger or follow the dolphins.

Hurricane Pass is to the left of my yak. The bridge connects Honeymoon Island to the causeway. The State Park starts after the buildings. I paddled under the bridge. Then northwest up Honeymoon Island. More dolphins along a seawall in front of the buildings. No pictures. Until I was at the northern tip of Honeymoon.

One of two rosette spoonbills in a small cove. Snowy and great egrets. I looked at a park bnrochure to see confirm where I was. On the map, "Bird Observation Area"


Honeymoon Island has two northern tips. A narrow cove splits the island for half its length. I paddled to the end of the cove. The first time I've made it all the way. Tide was still in.

Watching the gull with the fish makes me pose a question. The gull, like other birds with fish in beak, kept dunking it in the water. Why not keep it out, so it dies? Do birds dunk to let the meal slide down easier?


Lew- no cur(ve)

Towards the end of the cove I began to hear the surf. At the end, I landed, walked about 2o feet.

To the Gulf. I did not go on the beach, as I saw the back of a sign. I bet the front states, Keep Off , or something to that effect.

Back in the yak, and out of the aptly named Pelican Cove.

Reddish egrets hunt by "dancing" in the shallows. Fish see the shade cast by the wings, think its safe, and, bam !

Great egret and ?

Snowy egrets.

Great picture.

Out of the Park waters, I looked for the dolphins I saw on the outgoing paddle. Did not see them. But, at the bridge, I heard them, and turned around.

A shame my reflexes aren't quicker. This could have been a fantastic photo.

5:00 PM Saturday traffic, Hurricane Pass.

I was glad I did not have to run the gauntlent to land.

Although I did have to get out and wade, the tide was out.

I landed at 5:15. Just short of 9 hours after I launched. No better way to spend a warm Saturday. Recoord high, 95 in Orlando. On the Gulf in Dunedin, a temperate 90 degrees.


Tammy Nelson said...

These pics are awesome...

Anonymous said...

What no pictures of the walking fish???? Bummer

Dave said...

Walking fish?