Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blue Springs State Park, Snake Creek Loop

Deer on French Ave., about a quarter mile from the entrance to Blue Springs State Park.

Arrived at the Park about 10 to 8. Had to wait until it opened, at 8.  I was third in line.  "No swimming today, manatees are in the water"   What about kayaking in the Run?  "No kayaking, either"   Darn, I had hoped to snorkel, and maybe see a late season manatee.  Just as I saw some early season manatees my last visit, October 27, 2013.  Blue Springs Run reopens to human activity on March 15, but is monitored and if there is a cold spell, and the manatees return, it is closed for their protection.   Had a few nights in the high 40's last week.
 Thought the live oaks looking back from the launch area looked nice.
On the water at 8:25
 Bald eagle
 Closer views

 Held the camera over the side to get these pictures.  I was outside the sanctuary, the manatee, in.

 I wanted a full day on the water, and more.  Paddle down the St. Johns to Hontoon Island State Park, hike to the shell mound, paddle back on the Hontoon Dead River and Snake Creek, bike the Lake Beresford trail.  But, it was overcast, rain forecast for the afternoon, so I decided to do a short paddle.  Up the St. Johns towards Snake Creek.

Entering Snake Creek, 8:57







Saw just two alligators all morning

I often take a break in this area, but with rain on the way, I kept paddling.
 On to the Hontoon Dead River, 10:17.
Paddling the southbound leg of the Loop.
 Paddling into the wind, which was picking up.  Made a detour to watch this pair of great egrets no a mating dance.  Flying up and down, wings flapping vigorously.  Of course, they stopped when I got close.

 Nesting great blue heron

Into the canal, the first of 3 linking the Hontoon Dead River to the St. Johns River. 11:00
 Just like October, I had to turn back

Into canal number 2, 11:22

Out, 11:29.  Most of this connection between the Rivers is a natural channel.  Look for a dead tree on the left.  You are in the man made, logging canal, when you see bird houses.

The eagle was still just outside Blue Springs Run.

 Or, it flew away, and came back 3.5 hours later so I could take pictures.
As rain began to fall and thunder rumbled in the distance

Landed at noon.
After loading the kayak, I put on a poncho and to a walk along the boardwalk

 Just read about this kiosk in the State Parks Newsletter. http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLDEP/bulletins/ad3d24  I have been to 16 of the 20 Parks listed.  Madison Blue, Stephen Foster, Suwanee River, and Werner-Boyce are the exceptions.
 Blue Spring

 This sign is new.  At the diver entrance.  One of two places to access the Run, when it is open.  My guess is the Park was allowing people to swim up stream to the Spring, but not down, after March 15 if just a few manatee were in the Run. 

This is also new. On the edge of the swim dock. savethemanateecam?

This is a manatee cam. On the pole
 My manatee cam

 Manatees in the rain.  Of course, they are already wet
Can't say the same for the bald eagle.
Speaking of rain, by the time I got to the Interstate, it was coming down, or rather across, due to the wind, in sheets.  A nasty storm blew through.  Good day to stay close, 30 miles, to home and be on and off the water fairly early.

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