Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Cedar Key, July 5, 2014

The magnificent frigate birds have returned to Seahorse Key.  Which had an Open House on July 5. It usually is off limits.  This was my third visit.  All by kayak, of course.
Trying to catch the sunrise from the balcony at 6:45

 Breakfast.  Unit 327 has a toaster oven, as well as a conventional toaster.
Underway at 9:06.

Spotted a dolphin.  In the other direction from where I was headed. Which is a fairly long paddle, so I turned, but did not follow.

Astena Otie dock


 I always try to take a lot of picture at the dock.  On the crossing, there is wildlife, but you need to be quicker as it is usually flying or swimming.  The exception being the occasional cormorant on a channel marker.
Grassy Key and Snake Key (background)
 Snake Key
Seahorse Key. Flat water.  Almost perfect paddling conditions.  Almost, as it is July, in Florida.
 The aforementioned cormorant.  The arrow warns boaters of oyster beds as they enter a channel to the lighthouse dock.  I was headed for the other side of the Key




 Seahorse Key is the highest point on the west coast of Florida. 52 feet ASL

 Landed at 10:30.
New stairs since my last visit.
 Trail up the hill.

The first time I visited Seahorse Key, there was a line in the hot June sun to go the top.  Last time, I was the first one up.  Had to unlatch the little door to get out on the parapet. 
Cistern. The gutter comes from the lighthouse roof.
Had there been a long line, I would not have gone up.


The line was short. Only 3 people at a time can go up. I think I waited for two groups.


I find cacti growing in the chimney fascinating.

The lighthouse has not been used for navigation for years.  I do not know what happened to the lens.  The globe around the compact florescent is new since my last visit.
 Seahorse Key today is a University of Florida marine laboratory.  The Open House also had tables staffed by volunteers and staff from the Suwanee River National Wildlife Refuge and other organisations.
 Magnificent frigate birds were circling over the distant palms.  Others roosted. Saw them through a spotting scope atop an overlook at the dock.



 Trail to the beach

11:40 back on the Gulf.






Wondered what made the little beach.  A possible answer came in  few minutes.

Is the answer to the beach question posed earlier, too many pelicans? No greenery under this group five minute away from the earlier picture.  That's five minutes including picture taking time for a good number of tri colored herons.
The ban on landing, or even approaching shore, may have been lifted on June 30, as it is every year, but as you can see, there are still young birds. Treat them with respect. 

Magnificent frigate bird.

I hit the bird jackpot. Snowy egrets, tricolored herons, is that a spoonbill partially hidden?



Magnificent frigate birds.





Looks like I found a pretty good birding spot.

 Far off Cedar Key
Dock area at Seahorse getting busy. Glad I arrived when I did.
Final view of the lighthouse

I have a note that I saw a sea turtle on Saturday.  When, and where,  I forget


 Landed at 2. 1 hour and 40 minutes to make the trip.
Cheese steak
 Checking on the kayak as I biked to Sandy's Produce for provisions




$53.50 worth of clams, red snapper, alligator and plums.  Turned into 3 dinners, several lunches, breakfasts, and snacks. Still have clams left

My kayak from the balcony
 My kayak in the water, 5 to 8.
 Redfish at Scale Key


Mini frigate birds!
 Or, not.
 Flat water.  The sun would set on the other side of the Key, but the view over the marsh and trees should prove wonderful.




Going to be a nice sunset
 What's with the clouds?
And building seas?


 The wind, and waves, picked up.  At my back, pushing me towards the beach.  Or, rather towards the concrete wall at the edge of the outer boat ramp parking lot.  The kayak landing area is along that wall.
Waves crashed off the wall, as others came in.  Looked like a washing machine whirring around.  I set course up the beach to avoid the worst of it.  Landed without incident.   Did not have the opportunity to put the camera in the drybag, as the squall came up so quickly.  As an angler I had seen said,  "That came out of nowhere!"
 Sunset from the back balcony
Toasting brother Pete at Summerfest with my Levy swampsea pasta.


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