Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, February 5, 2011

St. Sebastan River

 A new location for Dave's Yak Tales.  But not the first time I have paddled the St. Sebastain River.
August 5, 2005

Those were my pre-camera days.  I was given the camera by generous friends and family in November, 2005.  My kayak back then was a Sun Velocity.  Served me well, but eventually devolped a leak that could not be fixed.  A rental before I got it, it had a lot of wear and tear.  I got tired of bailing, and on March 29, 2009  bought a second kayak, my red Wilderness Tsunami.   That kayak is in fine shape, but, I have been looking for another Velocity for years.  Or, a Riot Voyager, as it is now called.  About two weeks ago I found one. Florida Outdoor Center   Perfect timing.  I'll be taking a friend to Haulover Canal in a couple weeks to, hopefully, see the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.  Now, John won't have to deal with a rental, we won't have to go into Titusville, which you do not want to do on launch day. At least I don't, preferring the back way into Haulover Canal. Avoid the crowds.  My new used kayak cost $450.00.  I have not found a Riot Voyager for that price since I paid the same for my Velocity.  That included a paddle, life jacket, fishing net, and whistle.
Here's the email I sent when I bought  that kayak back on March 13, 2005   (editor's note-March 19).  I ordered a paddle from Sierra Trading Post. UPS tracking has it in Indianapolis. on its way south.  Tomorrow, after kayking Rock Springs Run, where the shorter, 13 instead of 14 foot, and easier turning Voyager is better suited than the Tsunami, I'll go to Travel Country Outdoors, where I think I'll get one of these  so I can transport both kayaks.  So, next time you came to visit, we can go anywhere, and not be limited to locations with rental kayaks.  Unless there are two or more of you.

The Florida Outdoor Center is located in Sebastian, on the Indian River, at Captain Hiram's Resort.  Neat place.  Lodging, docks, rentals. Full bar.  On the sand. Hence, the Sand Bar.   I arrived before the place opened, my footprints the first on the raked sand.  I waited for the folks who run the kayak rental to arrive. They did, I looked at the kayak.  Changes since 2005.  Sealed rear bulkhead. Front hatch, not sealed. Padded seat. Additional drain hole in the side of the kayak.  I did not see any obvious damage.  I asked  Mike, the owner if there was any haggling.  Cash discount? No.  As $450 is a good deal, I wrote a check.  If you are thinking of buying a used kayak, keep an eye on the FOC webite.  Mike told me he is going to be going with all wooden kayaks.  From what I saw, there are a lot yaks that will be going on sale over the next year or so.

I was thinking of going to a place where I have never kayaked, Sebastain Inlet State Park.  But, a moderate chop was forecast.  The Indian River looked smooth, but I'm glad I went to the Sebastain River instead.
Dale Wimbrow Park is less than 5 miles from Captain Hiram's. Here's a link with the address so you can find it.  Grassy area to launch from. Paved parking. Plumbing.  Everything I need.  The above pic  shows the ramp as I returned at 2:15 PM.   I launched around 10:30, paddled south, strong breeze at my back.

This portion of the St. Sebastian is broad and dark.  So I did not see the animal, probably a manatee, that splashed away from my kayak.  I'd rather it be a manatee than an alligator.  Later, I saw a manatee, resting near shore.

 I think the above bird is a juvenile northern gannnet. Adults are big, white, with a yellow beak. Saw one on Palm Bay, 20 or so miles north of St. Sebastain, a few years ago.

  I paddled for a bit over an hour, turning back in sight of the railroad bridge.  Beyond is US 1, and the wider water of the Indian River.  I missed the C-54 Canal, which supposedly has lots of manatees in the winter.  Looking at maps after getting home, I missed the entrance, behind some islands.

Most of the River itself is a Manatee Zone.
 Paddling against the wind, I went into a narrow channel for some protection.   Dead end.   A wide, deep pool at the dead end.  Good place for ... and before the thought was complete the alligator below slid off the bank.
Not only is the St. Seb. a Manatee Zone, thus, slow, no wake, but several miles on the west bank are the

Saw another manatee near this great blue heron. Just its back.
The St. Seb has many twists, turns, and dead ends. I was at one of them, and decided it was a good place to turn back, and take a break on land at the State Preserve.

Odd shaped log the herons are on. Oh, its a boat.

State Preserve landing.

I landed next to the dock, got out, crawled under the railing, had to take of my PFD to fit, then pulled the yak up.  Climbed the stairs, thinking there may be a picnic table or bench up top.  Nope, this is a Preserve, not a Park.

I walked back down, had lunch on the steps.  Watching the River flow.  Can't find the original, Dylan version, but Eric Clapton & Joe Cocker do a fine rendition.

Lots of little birds flitting about, I caught this cardinal.
Dale Wimbrow Park is only 10-15 minutes down River from the landing.  At least going down River, wind at my back.  It was warm, warmer than it has been in months.  I checked the temp after I got home. At 5 PM, it was 83 in Sebastian.  65, and it had rained,  at my Winter Park home.  Last pic, gopher tortoise at Dale Wimbrow Park.


The Florida Blogger said...

Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of my favorites in Florida.

Dave said...

One of these days I'll kayak there.