Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Blackwater Creek and Wekiva River

I returned to the Seminole State Forest today, Saturday, July 3, 2010 to paddle Blackwater Creek. As indicated by the title, today I made it through the obstacle that blocks Blackwater and made it to the Wekiva River. After working 8-12, I shoved off at 1:15. Saw a deer on the drive through the Forest to the launch site.

As on Friday afternoon, rain was expected.

As you see in the above photo, it did drizzle for a short time as I made my way slowly down scenic Blackwater Creek. Saw several alligators, all skittish, going under on sight, or scent, of me. I came to the blockage, two trees down across the Creek, and decided to try getting past. As on Friday, I skooshed over the first log. Then, in the space between the logs, I grabbed the high one, keeping the yak pointed down Creek. The current trying to push me parallel with the tree, I pulled myself to the highest point, keeping the yak perpendicular to the tree, leaned forward as far as I could, and made it under the log.

I think I've seen these alligators before, but these are the best photos I've got of this good sized pair. The smaller one went into the Creek first, I got a few pics of the big one before it went in.

Just down stream, a little guy tries to look fierce.

A bit further down Creek, I was admiring a group of even smaller gators. Until Mom came off the bank, towards me, if only for a moment. I made a hard paddle stroke and got out of her living room.

As on Friday, I was the only person on Blackwater Creek. The only wakes created by alligators diving off the bank on my approach. I got to the Wekiva River at 3:45
More alligators. And a dragonfly.

There were three boats on the Wekiva River, and a patch of blue sky as I paddled down River to the Manatee Zone. Would I see one on the Wekiva for the first time this year? No. I got to the spot where I've seen them most often, near the second manatee zone, and the sky got very dark. Thunder. I turned around. Rain, lightning, wind, thunder. Rain, more rain. Sheets, buckets, cats and dogs, take your pick. I paddled steadily, wanting to get to the relative shelter of Blackwater Creek. My kayak filled with water. I can't recall ever having rain fill it up so quickly. Well, not full, but enough to float my water bottle. I reached the Creek, and protected by the tree canopy, had a respite from from the deluge. An hour or so after the storm began, I got to a high point on the Creek and took a break to empty the kayak. While there, the rain let up. I wrung out my shirt, had some grapes and a granola bar, and was on my way.
The blockage. Doesn't look that low. It is. The duck down method wasn't working as I battled the current. So I grabbed the tree with my hands, leaned back as far as I could, and pulled myself under. Good way to get through. Not so good for my back. Feeling a bit tender now. Should be interesting how it feels tomorrow after the adrenaline, aspirin, and beer wear off. This is the last photo. More rain, and dark. Not dark because the sun was down, dark clouds. I saw the same buck I saw Friday. In the camera window, but the flash took a long time and all I have is fuzzy foliage. I landed at 7:15, as the rain, again, let up. Wondered how the back would respond as I put he kayak on the car. No problem. Three hours later, as I end the Tale, I'm thinking I'm glad I don't have to lift the yak now.


The Florida Blogger said...

I've been meaning to get over to Blackwater Creek. How far down Blackwater Creek is the Wekiva? And where on the Wekiva does it drop you out?

I settled for Lake Sawyer today. This rain is a bummer, but you're going to get wet anyway you look at it when you yak.

Dave said...

I think its 5 miles from the launch in Seminole State Forest to the Wekiva. The mouth of Blackwater Creek is a mile or so down River from the St Johns, 4-5 miles up River from Katies Landing.

Rain is a pain. Lightining is frightening.