Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cedar Key Day Three

The most important photo of the day, September 6, 2010. I locked my keys in my car a half block away. Linda, the proprietor took in a stranger. I stopped at the right place. She said her brother locked his keys in yesterday. And is a canoer, winner of the Wild Hog Race on the Waccasassa River. A ten to fifteen minute wait for the Cedar Key PD to pop the lock. So, next time you visit Cedar Key, stop at the Cedar Closet. It's a clothing shop. Tell them Dave sent you.
If not for the stupidity of your not so intrepid reporter, this would have been the lead photo.
White pelicans on Derrick Key, Shell Mound Unit, Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. I intentionally drove past the turn to the Refuge, hoping to find a camera memory card at a Dollar Store I recalled seeing on the drive to Cedar Key. Must be pretty far east. I went as far as the Cedar Key Scrub Preserve, about 3 miles out of my way before turning back. At the boat launch, a local with a camera told me the closest place to get a digital camera card is the Walmart in Chiefland. About 30 miles away. Looks like I'll be there tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm deleting a lot of stuff. That same gentleman pointed out the distant Derrick Key. "The one with the beach." I had a map that I had copied from this site. http://www.hiddencoast.net/downloads.html  . A wonderful resource. I put in from the stone covered parking launch and ramp at 10 to 10. Paddled south, near the east shore of Hog Island. Tall grasses,clumps of trees in spots. Typical Gulf coast environment. Great egrets on some of the distant trees. Seagulls flying about. I aimed for Derrick Key, until I realize I was heading for McClamory Key. Spotted Derrick, with the beach. Only it wasn't a beach. Had to be birds. What kind? I paddled closer, now in the open Gulf. Are they? Yes, have to be, white pelicans. At 10:25 I began taking pictures.

This may be the largest flock of white pelicans I have ever seen. Nice for a brown pelican to be in the frame to give perspective on the size of these birds.

Oyster catchers, too. I circled the tiny island. The pelicans circled above.

Even higher, a magnificent frigate bird. (not shown). Not all the pelicans took to the air.

I have no idea what the crane is doing. Dredging the channel? Or on its way someplace else, but not moving on Labor Day?

Speaking of moving, looking out the window, looks like the tide is still in. Time, 5:30 pm for a late afternoon paddle. The landing may be a bit of a muddy walk. I'll let you know in 90 minutes or so. I'm back 8:00 PM. Wind, waves, driving rain. Led to this.

Now its time to shower and find dinner.

Son of a !!! I've been adding to the Tale since 9:30. Am tired, its 11:45--and nothing is here! Looks like this Tale won't get completed until I get home tomorrow night- if then.

Posting a few more pics from Monday as I have a bagel and coffee Tuesday morning. Waiting for the tide to go out. Today's plan, paddle for about two hours off Cedar Key, than take the scenic route through the Lower Suwannee NWR to Manatee Spring. Snorkel, do a short Suwannnee River paddle, snorkel again. Being sure to shake my keys every time I get out of the car. Before closing the door.

Back to Monday. The great egrets are the same ones I saw in the distance on the paddle out to Derrick Key. I was able to find a channel through the marsh grass for a better view.

Bagel is finished. Time to pack the car, check out, and start kayaking. Deleted about 60 photos from the memory card. See all y'all (as the natives say) tonight.

7:50 PM Tuesday. I'm home. Time to continue Monday's Tale. I now can add the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge to the other NWR's in Florida I have paddled.

Merritt Island, Ding Darling, Chassahowitzka, Lake Woodruff, Crystal River, and of course, Cedar Keys. Always good to see the "Blue Goose". I paddled past the fishing pier, a good, in fact the only permanent man-made landmark. Unless the crane remains. went around the northern tip of Hog Island and crossed a short channel to Buck Island.

Back to Hog Island, I took a closer look at the area where I saw the black crowned night heron. I saw three, unfortunately, you only see one. It was in a clump of trees, a bit higher than the surrounding marsh grasses. Shell mound? Yes. Not the "Shell Mound" from which the Shell Mound Unit derives its name. That 28 foot high mound is on the other side of the water, near the launch. Where I landed at 12:10. Next item on the agenda. Walk the short trail to the top of the Shell Mound.

The trail is short, just .03 mile. A longer, one mile trail is begins at the same trail head. On a prior visit to the Shell Mound Unit, mosquitoes were nasty on the Mound trail. I did not even attempt the Dennis Creek Trail. Today, I had no problems on Shell Mound, so I strolled Dennis Creek

Despite the mosquito, which were kept at bay with Off! and a constantly spinning handkerchief, I'm glad I walked this diverse trail

Missed getting pics of great egrets, tri colored herons, cardinals and an osprey.

I left the National Wildlife Refuge and stopped at the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve on the way back to Cedar Key. Not the section I hiked and biked Saturday, and turned around at today. That is off Highway 24. This section is off Levy County Road 347. I may have heard scrub jays, my birding ear is not very good, but did not see any in a 20 minute walk. The red maples are getting an early start on fall.

One good thing about spending a few days at a spot is the chance to see more of it. I made a second stop, at the #4 fishing bridge and boat launch.

As with the Overseas Highway in the "other" Keys, and the Sunshine Skyway crossing Tampa Bay, when a new bridge was built, the old structure was converted into a fishing pier. On the way of Cedar Key Tuesday, I counted 3 bridges. Wonder what I missed.

I'm now at the point where, last night, Monday, I decided to call it a night. Only to find none of the words and pictures I spent two hours composing were saved. Turned out I had been dropped by the wireless connection in my room.

So, to continue. I left the pier, and soon saw a sign for the Railway Trestle Trail.

I could see the wooden pilings take must have taken the railroad across the water at the end of the trail, above. Completed in 1861, the Cedar Key to Fernidina line was railroad to cross Florida and help bring properity to Cedar Key. Until Henry Plant bypassed Cedar Key when he built his railroad, using Tampa as a hub.

If you want to know what kind of plants are on Cedar Key, this is the place. The .06 mile trail has more little white cards describing each and every plant than I have ever seen. I walked it twice, due to the key incident. Peering in the window, I could not see it. Maybe it was dislodged from my pocket when I put a bottle I had picked up into it. So I slowly walked the trail, out and back, again. The photo above was taken before I realized the key was missing. I wanted to get the view of the water from the Highway.

The keys were on the passenger seat. If you are going to lock your keys in your car, do it in Cedar Key. Can't beat the friendliness of the people.

I got back to Park Place, rested, had a beer, maybe two, uploaded pelican photos, then went across the street of a late afternoon paddle. Just enough water to take the paddle apart and push to deeper water. Nasty looking clouds to the northeast. Ok my me, I headed southwest, towards Atsena Otie Key.

Low tide exposed oyster reefs.

I decided to paddle around Atsena Otie. Maybe I'd see the bald eagle nest that is on the island.. I did not see it. In fact, I did not see very much. Remember those ominous looking clouds? More beautiful than ominous.
By circling the Key, I was now paddling back towards those clouds. And walking where low tide made paddling impossible. The wind picked up, in my face, of course. Waves grew larger. I was not wet, yet, but could see rain just ahead of me. Then, I was in it. Thankfully, rain only. Very nasty for a while. After it stopped, I was rewarded with a rainbow.
Ran aground at 7:24, did not wait for the tide to come in, dragged the yak to shore.
An hour later I was headed to Dock Street to find dinner.
Walked past the Pickled Pelican, thought of going in, but decided to try someplace else. Froggers. Which was closed, so I went back to the Pickeled Pelican. Where two employees recognized me from the night before. Again, friendly folks in Cedar Key. I came across the Pickled Pelican when googling Pat's Red Luck Cafe. I ate there years ago. Took a menu, to give to my brown haired brother, Pat. His luck is 5 red headed siblings. Any way, that place closed several years ago, the same Pat (not my brother) opened this new place in July. Once again, I supported the local aquaculture by having a cup of clam chowder.

Entree, grouper, shrimp and scallops. Fried. With a salad and beans and rice. So good I almost forgot to take a picture.
I asked my server what seafood on my plate was local. "All of it" A filling repast. I did not finish my salad. No liquor, beer and wine only. An extensive beer list, which I did not look at as bottles of Miller Genuine Draft and Pabst Blue Ribbon were a dollar both nights. With PBR in the fridge back at Park Place, I opted for MGD.


The Florida Blogger said...

A few months ago FWC was moving oysters from Suwannee to Cedar Key. Reseeding them. Could be that's why the crane is there. Who knows??

Dark Knight said...

Looks like you had a lot of fun...minus the key incident

Joanne said...

What an amazing experience to see all those white pelicans. They are so beautiful...and big!