Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rock Springs Run

This week's pre-work paddle took me to Wekiwa Springs State Park.  Into the Wekiva River at 7:40.

Down the Wekiva, 15-20 minutes to Rock Springs Run.

 I can't get a picture of a buck that was staring at me, yet I get a shot of a flighty belted kingfisher.  Go figure.

I better photo of a Big Buck.  Campsite.  My turn around point at 9:15.

The green kayak is a friend's, that I've been storing in my garage.

Wilderness Systems Pungo, 12 footer.  My 13 foot Riot Voyager turns better than it, this tracks better.  Both turn better then my 14 foot Wilderness Tsunami, but that tracks better than the shorter one.  All about trade offs.

RSR was flowing fast, I still feel it in my arms as I compose this Tale 12 hours later.

Saw an otter near the sand/mud bar.  Which is being overtaken by vegetation. 

 Six other paddlers.  On land, the Park was busy for a September school day.  On weekdays, I wheel the yak up the hill, than at the restrooms, instead of continuing up the dirt hill, I take the concrete sidewalk overlooking the Springs, to a wooden boardwalk, and up the boardwalk.  A smoother path.  On weekends, I don't want to block folks on the path.  With as shorter kayak, I did not have to lift the yak over the rail at the sidewalk/boardwalk intersection, as I do with my kayaks.  I just had to lift the front end and turn it.  

The Spring was refreshing, as always.   To bad by the time I walked up to the bath house to change for work, I was sweating again.  Good thing I work in T-shirt and shorts.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mosquito Lagoon

I went to the Canaveral National Seashore today, Sunday, September 25, 2011.  Hoping to see dolphins and manatees.  No dolphins, but one of the best manatee days in a long time.  I could see a manatee swirl as I unloaded the kayak.  In the water at 9:40, I paddled south, towards a fishing dock.  I've often see manatees near the dock and just beyond.

I was not disappointed.

Two amorous manatees.

I know one was a male.  As he grabbed the yak, rolling over on his back, his penis emerged from the slit about 3/4 of the way down the body.  First manatee boner I've seen. Didn't get a photo, you'll just have to believe me.
After about 15 minutes, I decided I did not want toe be part of a threesome and paddled away.  North now, and across to one of the many islands dotting Mosquito Lagoon.

Where there were more manatees, at least 6. Not as frisky as the first two. I continued paddling, towards Orange Island.

More manatees.

Great blue heron flasher.
Yak Tales a bit racy, especially on a Sunday.

Orange Island is one of the larger islands in this area of the Lagoon.  It has two campsites.  I've found one, but had not seen the second.  Today, I kept following the curve of the island until I saw the second campsite. It was occupied, the first had been empty.  Here's a map.     The launch site is just north of "Eldora".

I entered the maze of mangrove islands north and east of Orange Island.  Good thing Orange has bigger trees, oaks, palms, so I had a reference point.  Although, for a while, it was "oh, oh" which way am I going? But eventually, I saw a boat at an island. Had to be the same boat that was at the #2 campsite. As I got closer, I saw there were two boats.  But the tent was the same one.  When I passed the #1 site I knew where the heck I was.

The Eldora State House is another handy landmark.  I paddled south of the house, to two coves where I've seen manatees on occasion.  None in the first.

It was 12:30. Guess I spent a lot of time wandering through the islands.  Hot, too. And this was my fourth day of paddling.  Time to head back, catch the end of the Brewers-Marlins game, and the Packer game.

But, before I landed, I had to watch another rambunctious manatee herd.

Just north of the Lot 7 launch site.

As I wrote to begin the Tale, it was a great day for manatees.  Many more I did not get photos, they were everywhere I paddled today.

I tried to get the action on video. Here's the best one.

I took the camera out of my watertight case.  To get sound.  Put it back just in time. Drifted towards a trio of manatees.  Two swerved away wwithout incident.   The third put on the brakes by raising and slamming its fluke, splashing me.  I decided it was a good time to call it a day. Landed at 1:30