Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Haulover After Dark

Its not easy to get a photo of bioluminescence, after all it occurs in the dark. But, see the lighter color to starboard? That's it. Looks a lot better live. "Live" being the correct word as tiny living things, when disturbed, create the effect.

I went to Haulover Canal after work today, Tuesday, September 14, 2010. The usual crawl out of Orlando, it was a little after 7 when I launched from the Bairs Cove ramp. First time I've put in at the ramp. For daytime launches, I put in on the other side of the Canal, but that closes at night. So I'm told, I've been there after dark before. I've launched on the ramp side before, but from the bank. A log was washed up a the best bank spot, so with no one around, just two boat trailers in the lot, I used the ramp.

If any manatees were in the Cove, they did not surface as I paddled out, the entrance to Haulover Canal watched by a great egret to starboard and a great blue heron on the port side. In to the Canal, westbound to the Indian River, as was this osprey.
We both headed towards Mullet Head Island. These next 5 shots were taken in a five minute span.

Nice bonus about paddling after dark. You get to see the sunset. As ibis, cormorants, pelicans and more fly to Mullet Head Island for the evening.

The Island sanctuary was full of avian life.

Pictured are osprey, great egret, ibis, reddish egret, pelican and cormorant. Seen, but not shown, tricolored herons and black crowned night heron. No rosette spoonbills this evening. I circled the Island, and made way back towards the Canal. The boat that was fishing at the mouth was gone. It was the only one I saw on the water. The other boat, as two trailers were in the lot when I arrived, must have gone east. The lot was empty when I landed. A look back to Mullet Head Island.
As always, I did not enter the Canal, but took the less traveled route, the entrance to the south. A manatee surfaced, the moon now provided the only light.
With dusk came a natural phenomenon. Mosquitoes. You were expecting bioluminescence, weren't you? That came too. Earlier then I expected. On previous nighttime Haulover excursions the light show was a dual event. Once the sky filled with stars, the water began to come alive. Tonight, before it got completely dark, white streaks appeared in the water. Fish. My wake began to glow. Each paddle stroke left a fleeting rorsarch test in the water.
You have to believe me, it's much more impressive than my little camera can capture. The white dots on my arm are aquatic fireflies, but short lived. Twinkle for a moment, then extinguished.

As on prior nocturnal paddles, the best spot is the shallow, sheltered area near the Mosquito Lagoon end of the Canal. As I've written before, the light trails from fish scattering willy nilly are like fireworks. Not the colorful umbrella explosions, but the white light scattered type. An effect I could not capture. One leaping fish hit the kayak. Another hand shot, the glow flowing through my fingers.
Again, the real thing is much more dramatic. I think this is the best time of year for this experience. The weather has to be warm, and as fall approaches, it gets dark earlier, so I can get home at a reasonable hour. I like to create splashes with my paddle, creating brief waterfalls on liquid light. Back under the draw bridge, to Bairs Cove.
Where the underwater light show continued, fish swimming about, their wakes, for a brief instant, creating a light trail. A manatee surface, out in the Canal. I landed just before 9. Mosquitoes not to terrible as I got the yak on the car.


The Florida Blogger said...

I've been meaning to get out there and see those lights. Just not happened...yet.

Adayak said...

Awesome sunset. I've never been kayaking at night - might be kind of scary ... were there no gators in the water?

Dave said...

Of course there were gators in the water. This is Florida. I did not see any.