Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Farewell, Cedar Key

After four fun and active days in Cedar Key, I saw four rainbows as I drove home today, Tuesday, September 7, 2010. Two of the four are in the above photo. The first photo of the day was taken a 7:05. I wanted to see if I could get the sunrise from my balcony

Not very successful. If you are thinking, duh, Dave, you won't see the sun rise on the Gulf of Mexico, Cedar Key is not on the Gulf, but in it. I had an east view. I laid back down, could not fall asleep, so I got up, packed, checked out, and crossed the street to launch the yak about 9 am. Low tide was a 6:45, so I had no problem getting out. The wind was out of the east so I paddled into it. There are two condo development east of the beach. After that, nothing. Except a shipwreck.
I entered a little cove adjacent to the last condos. A tidal creek flowed into it. I entered, but it was to low. I turned around. Took some doing as the tide must have been coming in. Back in the cove, saw an ibis and great egret across the way. To far for a good pic, decided to wait until later. Which never came. I paddled out to an island. Circled the small landmass, then rode the waves back to the launch area next to the beach. Thought of going past, but did not want to fight the waves on the way back.

The Pickled Pelican is the far right building, upper level. I landed just before 11, got the yak on the car and headed out of town.
Headed to Manatee Springs State Park. Added time and miles to the trip by taking the Lower Suwannee Nature Drive through the Lower Suwanee National Wildlife Refuge.

A spur off the main road leads to a launch spot at McCormick Creek.

I kept the yak on the roof. On the 9 mile drive I saw two alligators, a hawk, a great egret. No people. Back on County Road 347, I set the GPS for Manatee Springs State Park. Which took me on a different route than I had taken before. A maintained dirt road. Telling be to turn on streets that weren't there. Perhaps I had inputted a wrong address. I reentered "Manatee Springs State Park" and soon arrived at my destination.
12:35 pm and a deer fed on the side of the Park road. I always see deer at Manatee Springs, not just a dawn and dusk. I was in the kayak at 12:55.

Turtles and a great egret in the spring run. Into the Suwannee River.

I paddled up River. A pontoon boat left the Park dock, headed down the Suwannee. It was the only other boat I saw in two hours.

When thinking about my long weekend, Labor Day plus "National Kayaking Day"--as declared by me. I was thinking of paddling all the way to Fanning Springs. After 4 days, that 18.4 round trip wasn't in the cards. Even I had not paddled in the Gulf earlier in the morning. I turned back after one hour, not even reaching Clay Landing.

It can be hard to spot wildlife on the wide, heavily forested Suwannee River. The gator above is the same one I saw on the way up River. On the up River paddle, I heard a barred owl across the River. I paddled across, did not locate the owl, but saw three wild turkeys. Saw two more alligators. Lots of turtles.

I hoped to see some leaping Suwannee sturgeon. I heard one huge crash and splash, I was looking the other way, at a great egret in the cypress. I missed another, just seeing splash.
This is how I know its a 18.4 mile round trip to Fanning Springs, a trip I have made in the past.
Manatee Spring. I landed at 3:10, got the kayak on the car as it started to rain. No thunder, so I headed to the empty first magnitude spring. Another snorkeler arrived just as I was getting in. He just dove in and out, so I had it to myself.

The rain shower moved on as I swam.

I changed, and on the way out of the Park, stopped to walk the .06 mile Sink Trail. As I was getting ready to go, two deer crossed the road.

Back in the car, I slowly drove, looking for deer. Saw none. In the Park. This was just just outside

What a great weekend. Kayaked three rivers and the Gulf. Visited two National Wildlife Refuges, a State Park, a State Reserve, and a State Museum. City parks and fishing piers. Great food, beautiful sunsets and wonderful people. Cedar Key is a great location for a kayaking weekend. I'll have to do it again. My birthday is on a Friday this year, so maybe then. Last pic, another rainbow on the way home.


The Florida Blogger said...

The Lower Suwannee National Refuge is a beautiful place to get lost in...intentionally...and not come out for a few days!

Joanne said...

You make better use of your time off than anyone I've ever known. Glad you had such a great trip.