Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Greetings From Cedar Key (Memorial Day Weekend, 2011)

The view from my lodgings at Park Place in Cedar Key. Same unit I had Labor Day Weekend, 2010. I you want to see the interior, see my Tale from September. Today, I woke up at 10 to 4. Actually, I woke up about 3, and never got back to sleep, so I said "might as well start the weekend. I was on the Waccasassa River in Levy County at 7. The place was packed. But everyone except yours truly was headed west, towards the Gulf. I paddled upstream.

Coming to the confluence of the Waccassassa left, and Wekiva, right, I headed up the Wekiva.  A Florida geography refresher.  Their are at least 2 Wekiva Rivers.  The one in Orange, Seminole and Lake Counties, and the one in Levy County.  I was on the latter.
The Central Florida Wekiva is the only place I got a photo of a roosting swallowtail kite.  Until today.
Same tree, same bird, same camera setting.  First is into the sun, second, I passed the tree an put old Sol behind me.

Yellow crowned night heron.

I really like this "other" Wekiva. Some day, I need to explore what is beyond this log.

It's been there all three times I have. Three times where, I was on my way to Cedar Key for more kayaking. Perhaps some day I'll do a day trip and just paddle the Wekiva and Waccasassa. 8:15 when I turned around.

Green heron

Limestone karst.  Florida's underlying geology.

Barred Owl.   Could the "bars" white markings, be an evolutionary adaptation?

To blend in with lichen stained trees?

 Red shouldered hawk
There are several very impressive cypress trees along the Wekiva.

I liked the above reflection so much I took a second, closer, picture.
Arrived at the confluence at 9:30.  I had been thinking of not paddling the Wacassasa, but thought, well, I haven't seen an eagle, so...  Up the channel I paddled. More like down, the tide was coming in.  I don't know how far I was from the Gulf, but the tidal effect is noticeable. Saw a gator, second of the morning.  The first, a four footer was about to surface, saw the yak, and thought better of it.  Very cool to see it in the clear spring fed water.
 Levy County Road 326. The road to the launch.

No eagle today. Told myself I'd paddle until I got some animal photo.  Followed a yellow crowned night heron up a side channel until it was blocked.
Twenty minutes.  Enough time on the Waccasassa.  Remember, I was saving myself for more kayaking at Cedar Key.  And Sunday. And Monday.

If I wasn't raised right, I'd spell out, "Look at that f@# *ing tree!" By the way, she who raised me is in Boston, to see the fifth college graduation of one of her grandchildren. Who, even better, has a job. Congrats, Becky.

The Waccasassa widens near the boat ramp. I chose not to go past it, not wanting to share.  I had the up River portion all to myself.  Landed at 10:40 in an overflowing parking lot.  Trucks and trailers parked down 326.  I did not see any car top carriers.
Got the yak on my cartop carrier, and headed to Cedar Key.

As noted in prior Tales, the Cedar Keys are a scaled down version of the Florida Keys.  Instead of driving 90 miles on US 1/Overseas Highway from the Turnpike, its 24 miles on State Highway 24 from US 19.  Only 4 bridges, none 7 miles, or even half a mile, long.  I arrived at Park Place, asked if it was possible to check in.  Not yet, the unit had been occupied Friday night, and was still being cleaned.  But I could park, and walk across the street to the kayak launch site.  I did, a shorter walk than Wekiwa Springs State Park.  The last two times I stayed overnight in Cedar Key, I took the car to the launch.

Fishing dock.
I made the short, half mile crossing from Way Key, the key in the Cedar Keys that the town of Cedar Key is on, to Atsena Otie Key, the key that housed the original settlement.

On past Cedar Keys paddles, I had stopped on Atsena Otie, but never ventured far from the beach.  I knew their was a trail leading into the interior, but never found it.  Until today.
Atsena Otie was abandoned after a hurricane destroyed the town in 1896.  Some ruins remain.

I don't know if the dock goes back to 1896.  I can't find any information about it.  As I had only viewed the dock from the water, I had to walk it.  Back to land .

 Windmill tower, I guessed.

Guessed right. The blades. 
Good morning. I'm having my traditional left over steak and potatoes breakfast. With onion and cheese. I'm  a bit disappointed as the marine forecast has deteriorated. From light chop to moderate chop.The eye test shows branches swaying and the occasional whitecap I may have to alter my float plan.  I hoped to paddle to some of the outlying Keys. Snake and Seahorse. But, I may have to stay in the bayous as I did on April. Speaking of April, one nice feature about the condo I stayed in then was the balcony had a nice high table and chair where I could sit, eat, drink and compose the Yak Tale.  This one has plastic, backyard chairs and a short side table. So, I'm inside.  For now.  Back to Saturday.
The trail on Atsena Otie Key leads to a cemetery.

And ends with a view of a bayou. 

I wondered about the disheveled condition of the site, and thought, too bad I dont' have any flowers.  Last night, while searching for information on the dock, I came across this article from the Orlando Sentinel 
I had not known about this, or rather had not until I saw this timeline.

I'd bet keeping the Key undeveloped as brought in more revenue from tourists than property taxes from a few rich people who would have found ways to evade them.

Other tourists walked towards the cemetery as I returned.  One asked, "How close to the graveyard" "Closer for some of us than others"  I thought it was funny, as did a woman behind the lady who asked.

The cormorant and the following birds are seen on the dock from my usual vantage point. My kayak.

I had thoughts of finding my way through the island, but when I scraped some oyster shells, I determined circumnavigation was the way to go.

Spotted an osprey, high in the sky.  Here is its mate.

Another osprey.

After circling Atsena Otie, I headed northwest, towards the Old Fenimore condos and Channel number 2.

In April I saw lots of spoonbills in this area. None today.  Paddled up the channel to Nature's Landing, just enough water to do so.  Tried to enter the side channel that has a black crowned night heron rookery, to shallow.  I did see something very neat in the channel.  Something surfaced Odd angle for a fish.  It surfaced again, I saw more of the turtle.  About 2 feet in size, greenish.  That was on the way in.  I saw it, or another, on the way out of the channel.  I thought it might be a Kemp's Ridley turtle.  A quick google search shows it was. http://www.cedarkey.org/docs/releasing_kemps_ridley_turtles-17th.pdf  I had forgotten about the released turtles.

Approaching Dock Street, right. The Atsena Otie dock is in the left background.
The above photo was taken at 2:44.  I landed shortly thereafter.  Carted the yak back to Park Place, checked in, unpacked, stocked the fridge, and took the first photo of this Tale at 3:39.

After getting settled in, writing the first part of this Tale, cooking and eating supper, I went for a walk.  First to Nature's Landing, the place I stayed in April.  Was not available when I inquired last week.

Just two little birds, sandpipers? in the mud flats exposed by the outgoing tide.  I was ignoring No Trespassing, Residents and Guests Only, signs.  I figure I'm a former, and future guest.  Next stop, Dock Street.

The brown Florida Railroad signs mark each stop from Otter Creek to Cedar Key.  Otter Creek is a hamlet at the intersection of US  19 and SR 24.
The view of the sunset from the fishing pier was not as good as it was Labor Day Weekend. Darn earth and sun aren't in the same alignment.  I also discovered the new camera doesn't have a "sunset" setting.  I took the above under "low light". This one is with "vivid".
I think "vivid" is better. 
.I could have rented the building in the middle for $120 a night, plus a $40 cleaning fee.  I paid $105 a night. This is the street level view.
I like where I am.
 I like how the local insurance agency lists "Boat" after "Life, before "Auto"
Earlier, I wrote the camera has a "Vivid" setting. It does not. It is "Super Vivid"

Last pics of the day, taken about 8:25.

The sunset was in the other direction.

1 comment:

Luis said...

The kite pics are good. It is a beautiful bird.