Sunday, November 14, 2010. Third and final day of my birthday paddling weekend. Birthday paddling. Just had a flashback to my youth, and a family tradition. "The old mill" The birthday boy or girl could not speak while eating the birthday cake. If he/she did, the family lined up, and the birthday boy/girl had to crawl between their legs and get spanked by his siblings. I have 6 brothers and sisters, Where that came from, I have no idea.
Back to 2010. Here is the inside view of my room at the Kings Bay Lodge.
The view from my door.
I left at 9:05. The sign looks real cool at night, red and white neon.
Forty minutes later, I was in the Chassahowitzka River.
I paddled down the Chass.
Three manatees in the spring.
I observed them for about fifteen minutes, then headed back to the Chas. A couple kayaked past. I did not see them when I got back to the River. They must have gone up Baird Creek. As three is a crowd, I stayed on the Chas.
|Juvenile black crowned night heron|
I went up the shallow, less traveled branch of the River, to the right of a trio of islands. The two branches combine again, up stream of the Chasshiwitzka National Wildlife Refuge.
My destination was Crawford Creek. My hope was to see bald eagles and dolphins. I was not disappointed.
As I did not see a pelican rise from the froth, it had to be a dolphin. As I see more eagles than dolphins on the Chas, I paddled west for a closer look.
Far up the spring fed, tree canopied part of Crawford Creek I heard an exhale. What was that? I came round a bend, and a dolphin was coming down Creek, towards me in the clear spring water. The opening photo was taken a few minutes after I first saw it. I think it was the same dolphin I saw earlier. Seeing one so far up a freshwater creek was very cool... I've seen dolphins far up some of the tidal creeks of the Chas, but never in a clear, tree canopied spring run. Usually home to great blue herons.
I watched the hunt for about 15 minutes before I took off.