Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Seminole State Forest Bike Ride

Went for a bike ride after work today.

Saw rabbit, turkey and deer. One of each.  All eluded my camera on the six mile ride.

On the drive out, I stopped at the East and West Spur.  Two short roads that intersect the main Forest road.
 I pulled over, and walked to see what I could see.  I have read scrub jays are in the area.  I saw one, once.  Not sure what the bird above is.  Black head and back, white breast.  Any ideas?

Back in the car.
Out of the car, Bear Pond fishing pier.
I'm going to the Keys this Independence Day Weekend.   Don't know if I'll be able to post anything until I get back Monday night.  Have to see if I can get the great niece and nephew in the kayak.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blackwater Creek

I went to the Seminole State Forest after work today, Wednesday, June 29, 2011 and got a 90 minute paddle in on Blackwater Creek.  A deer ran into the forest across the road from the launch site as I removed the yak from the roof.  As I pushed off, a large alligator swam up the Creek.  I thought of following it, but headed downstream instead,

It was raining as I left work, but no rain when I began paddling at 6:35.

Young blue heron
This gator
Did not move as I approached.  Despite a slap of the paddle, and a shout.  If it were bigger, I might have turned back.
It finally submerged when I got within a few feet.

Yellow crowned night heron

Turn back point. To bad I had spots on the lens.

Birds seen, not shown, include limpkin, anhinga, cardinal and a pair of barred owls.  An otter, too.

I paddled past the launch for a few minutes, than came back, landing at8:08.
Stopped for pictures on the way out.

Unlocking the gate, I said, gotta get the sunset over Bear Pond.

When I got home, a neighbor asked,  "Do you canoe every day"  "No, I kayak three times a week"  After more chit chat, she asked if I was retired.  I wish.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blackwater Creek, Wekiva River to Katie's Landing

I had a kayaking kompanion today, Sunday, June 26, 2011.   Stephanie S., who enjoyed her time on the water so much when we paddled the Wekiva River from Katie's Landing four weeks ago  so  much she wanted to go paddling again.  Come to think of it, everyone I have paddled with, who I have seen again, we have gone out on the water again.   My plan had been to do a car/bike shuttle from the Seminole State Forest launch to Katie's Landing.  With Steph joining me, we could shuttle the conventional way.  Two cars.

So, we arrived at the Forest, left Steph's car at the Bear Pond lot (no sense on both of us driving the 2 miles to the put in on the washboard Sand Road), unlocked the gate, drove in, locked it behind us, headed to the launch.  Arrived, unloaded the kayaks, drove back, unlock, gate, lock.  Got Steph's car, we both drove to Katie's Landing, 5 miles launch to launch.   Left my car, back to the Seminole State Forest.
Quite a few rabbits along Sand Road in the Forest.  I said we needed to see a tortoise.

In the Creek at 10 past 10.
I heard baby gators chirping, did not see them, but near the Florida Trail campsite, where I often see an alligator, was, I assume, mama.
These fellas were further down the Creek.

 Anyone know what the white flowers/weeds are?   Queen Anne's Lace was one suggestion.  I looked it up. Negative on the Queen Anne, but I can't find what it is.

Saw a deer for the first time in months.  It was to fast, I was to slow for a photo.

 Quick enough to get an anhinga in flight. Lucky enough is more like it.

Snakes are all over the waters I paddle, but for some reason, I rarely see them.  This one was just in front of the above blue heron.
Water snake. Looks a lot like a cotton mouth. It's a good idea to give any snake plenty of room. Here's a handy water snake- cotton mouth comparison

 We saw another snake, in the water.   I did not get a photo.  Don't know if Steph did.  When she wasn't running over baby gators, she was taking lots of plant, flower, and tree photos.
 I'm kidding about the baby gators.
 A palmedes swallowtail ?
We did not see the dear bear I saw on Saturday.  I did send an email to the office I get the Seminole State Forest use permit.  I think the guys in the jonboat took it. Get skunked fishing, bring home bear meat.

We stopped at the high ground for a break.  A nice perk about taking someone kayking.  Steph brought lunch. A Publix sub.  An upgrade from my usual sandwich.  As we ate, the biggest boat I have ever seen on the Creek approached.  Its a small Creek, so a 15 foot bass boat with a 30 horse is huge.  "Where does this go"  "Lake Norris" "Can we get there" "No"   "Does it go to a place called Seminole Springs" "No, Lake Norris".  They turned around.   There is a Seminole Springs near the Seminole State Forest.   A small spring, on private property.  It feeds Seminole Creek, which flows into the Wekiva River.  I have never heard of anyone paddling Seminole Creek.  Must be tiny.
Speaking of tiny.

I told myself, I mean, I told Steph, I'm to used to talking to myself while paddling, I need to take a photo of this gauge every time out to have a record of the water level.

We entered the Wekiva River at 1:45.  Saturday, I went left, downriver to the St Johns River. Today, we paddled upriver to Katie's Landing.

Two big gators.  The ones in the Wekiva are used to people.  Blackwater gators are not.  In fact, Wekiva gators are so used to people some one got a lasso around this one's neck.  I had not noticed it.  Stephanie did.  I wonder if it got away from a licensed trapper, or just rednecks after one to many Natty Lights.

We same no other paddlers. Just power boats. 6, 7. All slowed when passing us.

 Steph closing in on yet another gator.
Great blue heron

Blue heron

 Blue heron in full voice.

Tri colored heron

Birds seen but not pictured include limpkin, osprey and black crowned night heron.   We landed at 4, got the kayaks on my car, drove back to the Seminole State Forest.
 Where a gopher tortoise bookended the rabbit/hare at the start of the day.,
I'm ready to go again. 

While I was focusing on the broad view, Stephanie was capturing more intimate images.  Here are a few.

She also found something I have never noticed in 6 years of kayakig Blackwater Creek.

Anyone know about River Reeves?  A search of the internet came up empty. 

Steph found the answer:
from the Palatka Daily News Obitiuaries, there came more details:
Frank Reeves
Frank Richard Reeves, 54, of Debary, died Monday, November 18, 2002 at Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford .
Mr. Reeves was an electrician for Seminole County Schools and was a Navy veteran who moved to West Volusia in 1979 from his native Palatka, where he was born.
He was a member of College Park Baptist Church , Palatka and he attended Palatka, High School. He enjoyed fishing.
Survivors included his wife of 33 years, Margaret; two daughters:  his parents:  a sister: ; and two grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made to Friends of the Wekiva River , 250 Betsy Run, Longwood, FL 32779.

So no “River” in his given name as his middle name was “Richard.” I think we’ve got the “right man” by the clue: “Memorial donations may be made to Friends of the Wekiva River .” Perhaps “River” was just his befitting nickname.