Friday, June 05, 2015

Kayaking the Wakulla River!

The first kayak trip we took was an up and back on the Wakulla River. This river is one of those unique waterways in Florida that appears whole-cloth from a single source, a first magnitude spring. In this case the source is the Wakulla Spring. This spring is insanely deep and discharges a truly phenomenal amount of fresh water every day. Enough to create a vast river with accompanying ecosystems.

To do the paddle we drove to a county park along the river where there was a parking area and a boat ramp. Being the Memorial Day weekend, the ramp and river soon became extremely crowded. We had not thought much about it being a holiday weekend and if we had arrived any later we would have been pretty much crowded out. As it was, there was still plenty of space to get unloaded and to park when we left. But by the time we got back, the place was packed beyond capacity with vehicles jammed in everywhere someone could find a place to leave their car or truck.

The Wakulla is a classic spring-generated river. It's crystal clear and surrounded by huge cypress trees and full of fish and birds and snakes and turtles and alligators and all kind of other wild animals. As I was relaxing on the river at one point, a manatee surface right beside me, exhaled a big breath of air, took a gulp of fresh air and then immediately submerged again as it headed for the head spring.

Another thing about these rivers is that they have a pretty good currently for flatwater. We had chosen to pack downstream and paddle up the park, then return to our truck by letting the current do most of the work. This was indeed a good choice as we were pretty tired when we got up to the bridge and fence that block access to the main spring inside the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

The single negative thing that I can say about the adventure were the crowds. But this was because of the holiday. I spoke to a guy who did the same paddle the day after the weekend and he said he had the river almost to himself. But the day we were there it was packed, including with motor boats and assholes blaring music from loudspeakers. I would hate to have been one of the home owners along the river that day. There would have been no peace for them, at all.

One guy in a motorboat he almost hit Carole's kayak was later nabbed by the Florida Forest Rangers. These guys are armed police officers (in case you have any doubts) and they do not put up with such shit. I sat there and enjoyed seeing this ignorant drunken bastard be issued three citations that will, I'm sure, cost him an arm and a leg.

Carole took all of the photos for this blog (except for the video).

The water and the trees were gorgeous.

I had to catch up to Carole who had gotten a head start on me.

You can tell in this photo how clear the water is in the Wakulla.

A Go-Pro video I shot as I paddled along.

Normally cormorants fly away when you get close. But this one stood its ground.

A last cool shot along the river before we got back to the put-in point.

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