Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cedar Key, Day Two

I had never seen great frigate birds roosting. Until today, Sunday, September 5, 2010. On Seahorse Key.
I launched the kayak shortly after 9 am. Scary looking skies to the northeast. See the funnel forming?

It got a little bigger, than was swallowed by the clouds. No rain during my five hours on the Gulf. Began by heading to Atsena Otie Key.

An old dock on Astena Otie still has heavy traffic.

More later. Its dinner time.

I'm back from the Pickled Pelican. Had a clam appetizer. When in the town that proclaims itself "Number One in Farm Raised Clams" on a sign on the road into town, I had to have some. Looked like 2 dozen. I lost count. And and oyster, bacon and swiss- modified po boy. The oysters that fell out of the bun and the sandwich itself were great for dipping in the tomato based sauce the clams were bathed in. Followed by sunset from the fishing pier.
Don't tell anyone, but Cedar Key's sunset rivals Key West and Captiva. But, I have a kayaking Tale to tell, so let us return to the waters off Astena Otie Key.
The great egrets were in the interior of the island. I was out at high tide, so was able to enter a little bay for a better view.

I was able to enter and explore two coves on the southwest side of the Key.

I set course south for Snake Key, about a mile and a half away. Last Atsena Otie photo was taken at 10:06.
First from near Snake Key, 10:39.

No wildlife pics from Snake Key. I departed from a little bay, would have explored it but a fishing boat was there (not the pontoon above). I left the bay, the mouth of the snake at 10:50.
I then had an uneventful 2 mile crossing to Seahorse Key.
The wildlife drought ended at Seahorse Key. I almost had an alltime photo in the one above. I wanted to get the Area Closed March 1-June 30 sign, with the sand dune in the background. Seahorse Key is 52 feet high. That is the highest point on Florida's west coast. What is missing from the photo is the manatee that surfaced just after the shutter clicked. There were two. Look for a head off the large clump of driftwood on the right side of the photo.
I was thinking of landing, but the same pontoon that was at Snake Key landed at Seahorse Key. I did not want to be near the beer drinking youngsters. Who let their dog run on the beach. I wanted to say, "It's a bird sanctuary you dumbasses!. But was not up for a confrontation.

Dogs may be allowed this time of year, but why even bring one? I did paddle inside the signs marking the closed area (not at this time of year) but stayed off shore. If I landed, it would be at a spot without any birds.

I did not land.

I guess I was too close, as a group of pelicans and cormorants took off. Had it been nesting season, this would have been a big faux paus.

Just around this point.
Is a little cove. Two dolphins were feeding. They must have just finished, as they zipped passed me into the open water. I then came to some dark birds in a tree and thought, those cormorants sure have funny tails.

They aren't cormorants. Magnificent frigate birds. As stated at the start of the Tale, I've never seen them perched. Just soaring high overhead. As one was doing above the tree. I had been paddling on the south end of Seahorse Key. I came around to the northeast corner and set course for Atsena Otie. I had not seen the lighthouse that is on Seahorse. Saw steps that must lead to it, I must have been to close when I was at the high part of the island to get proper perspective. Two pairs of dolphins made the one hour trip memorable. Had a wow! moment as one surfaced next to me. Had to come from under the yak.

For the second time in two days I saw a dolphin jump completely out of the water. Not a vertical launch as on Saturday, more of a graceful, parabolic leap.

I stopped on Astena Otie for a sandwich and a cookie. All of the Keys I visited are part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. http://www.fws.gov/cedarkeys/ Astena Otie Key is the only one that allows access to the interior. I have yet to ewxplore inland. It's so close to Cedar Key I don't want to stop when I first arrive, by the time I return, I'm ready to call it a day. It was 1:47 when I took this pic of the fishing pier and the buildings of Dock Street. I tried to take another, "Memory Card Full". Perfect timing, as the alnding beach was less than 5 minutes away. Back to Park Place, download the day's pics, delte some to get space on the card, finish Saturday's Tale. Then on the bike to visit Cedar Key Museum State Park and buy a memory card.

The above marker is not at the Museum, but is on the way. The Museum got its start with a local's shell collection. It now has exhibits on the history of Cedar Key. The home of the collector is on the Museum grounds.

Old homes like this, vintage early 20th Century have a cetain smell. At least to me. I call it the "Grammy Cannon smell" It is what I remenber my grandmother's home smelling like.

A short trail leads to the water. Being an island, water is never far away on Cedar Key.

Artifacts on the grounds. Like me, John Muir attended the University of Wisconsin. Unlike him, I did not arrive on Florida by foot.

On the way to the Museum, I passed a cemetary. I saw a marshy area and water, and made a point to stop on the way back. Much more than I expected. Cemetery Point Park.

I biked more of the island, than I planned, taking a wrong turn and ending up at the airstrip. But,its all very scenic. Stopped at half a dozen places to find a memory card. None on the island. I've been deleting pics while downloading the illustrations for this Tale. Here are my Cedar Key Clams. And my sandwich.


Dock Street at dusk. This is about four blocks from my lodging.


Beverly Hill said...

I almost went to Cedar Key this weekend but I wasn't able to get my kayaking buddies talked into it. We wound up doing Juniper (panhandle) instead and we plan to do upper Econfina Creek tomorrow. Here's hoping I'll meet ya one of these days. ;)

Dave said...

One advatage of solo paddling. I get to go where I want, when I want.

Joanne said...

Wow, frigate birds roosting--I've never seen that. What a great trip you're having. Thanks for sharing.

I very much appreciate your respect for wildlife. Wish there were more folks like you.

Dave said...

Thank you Joanne. If you have not seen roosting MFB's, it must be a rare sight.