Monthly Archives: August 2016

Silver River – August 31, 2016

Well, we had a paddle planned for Juniper Creek today, but again needed to go to Plan B . Juniper was shut down Wednesday morning when we arrived (again) apparently in anticipation of bad conditions on Thursday night when we are expecting a tropical storm. Yeah, it didn’t make much sense to us either. I can understand shutting down the rentals if you expect bad weather, since most renters at Juniper have little idea of what they are getting into or how to handle a boat, but to close down the entire run due to weather conditions you are expecting in another 36-48 hours?  Safety is one thing, but I think this borders on the extreme.

So, our Plan B was a leisurely paddle on the Silver River.  We put in at Silver Springs State Park and paddled down the river to south of Raccoon Island, then came back up via the canoe trail. Since rain was predicted (rain is rarely NOT predicted in Florida during the summer), other than one small private eco-tour group and one state park glass-bottom boat tour, we had the river practically to ourselves. It was a wonderful 3.5-hour paddle with lots of birds, turtles and gators and we never got any rain.  We finished it off with a late lunch at the sandwich shop in the park.

We had one interesting moment when a very large gator approached us on the Ft King Canoe Trail as we were headed back to the launch.  We always try to give gators their space – about 30 feet or so plus always leave them an escape route to the water.  Unlike the main river which is quite broad, the canoe trail is very narrow, and this gator was not giving us OUR space.  A biologist friend said it was displaying territorial behavior and was on a patrol of his borders. Whatever the reason, he was way too close and the only thing we could do was freeze in the water.  We have included one still of him below, plus there is a video showing how close he got to one of us on our Video page, which you can access HERE.

A beautifully marked Yellow-bellied Slider (Treachemys scripta scripta)

A beautifully marked Yellow-bellied Slider (Treachemys scripta scripta)

A beautifully spotted Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus). We found a pool just full of little ones from about 6 inches to 18 inches long.

A lovely spotted Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus).  We found a pool just full of little ones from about 6 inches to 18 inches long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another gar, probably a Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus)

Another gar, probably a Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus)

A little sunfish in one of the springs. I think this is a Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)

A little sunfish in one of the springs. I think this is a Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult and immature Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)

Adult and immature Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata)

Stately Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) who let me get closer than most.

Stately Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) who let me get closer than most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) resting.

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) resting.

A young Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) getting ready to strike.

A young Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) posed to strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) taking a snooze.

Female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) taking a snooze.

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) stalking on a bed of vegetation. We think we got close enough toruffled his feathers.

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) stalking on a bed of vegetation. We think we got close enough to ruffle his feathers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A pretty little gator out sunning. About 3 feet long, you can still see his yellow baby strips.

A pretty little gator out sunning. About 3 feet long, you can still see his yellow baby strips.

This poor little gator has lost an eye. About 4 feet long, the other eye is just fine and he seems to be getting along okay.

This poor little gator has lost an eye. About 4 feet long, the other eye is just fine and he seems to be getting along okay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This little lady on the eco-tour was not sure she wanted to be so close to our big gator of the day - about 10 feet.

This little lady on the eco-tour was not sure she wanted to be so close to our big gator of the day – about 10 feet.

A curious female Anhinga giving us the eye.

A curious female Anhinga giving us the eye.

Suwannee Quest 8 – August 20, 2016

Stage 8 of the Suwannee Quest – the YakPak’s attempt to lead the Sandhill Chapter of the Florida Trail Association in paddling all 206 miles of the Suwannee River in Florida – one piece at a time.

We had a wonderful paddle from Eula Landing to Fanning Springs – a little over 14 miles – poking our noses into a number of springs along the way.  At the south end you can use either Fanning Springs State Park or just across the river is the Joe Anderson Public boat ramp.  We elected to use Joe Anderson because it offers more parking at the ramp and in the adjacent park.  The water level by the White Springs gauge was 52.04 – medium low.

Rain was predicted for the afternoon and a number of people canceled due to the prediction, but all we got was about 15 minutes of light shower at Copper Spring.  Not even enough to put on our rain jackets and skirts.

We enjoyed the water, each other’s company and cooling off on a hot August day.  We also ran into a delightful older couple in a home-made boat.  The “craft” under the umbrellas was a couple in a home-made boat.  Two kayaks within a PVC frame powered by a trolling motor.  The little tolling motor was pushing them at about our speed so we paddled with them for an hour or so.  You can see them in the Hart Springs pictures below sporting beach umbrellas.

Setting off from Eula Landing

Setting off from Eula Landing,

Paddling up Hart Springs run.

Paddling up Hart Springs run in the company of a home-made boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Springs. We didn't swim here, but you can see why it's called "Iron" springs. The spring run was good for cooling off, though.

Iron Springs. We didn’t swim here, but you can see why it’s called “Iron” springs. The spring run was good for cooling off, though.

Little Otter Spring.

Little Otter Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kayak shadow on bottom of Little Otter Spring.

Kayak shadow on the sand bottom of Little Otter Spring.

Cooling off in Little Otter Spring.

Cooling off in Little Otter Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrance to Copper Spring in a light rain.

Entrance to Copper Spring in a light rain.

Copper Spring outflow. The actual spring vent is underground and on private property, so this is what you can see.

Copper Spring outflow. The actual spring vent is underground and on private property.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bell Spring

Bell Spring

Underwater shot of fish in rocky vent at Bell Spring.

Underwater shot of fish in rocky vent at Bell Spring.

 

 

Santa Fe River – August 13, 2016

A few more pics from the Santa Fe River near High Springs, FL.  These were taken on my Saturday repeat of my Wednesday August 8th paddle.  Same trip – US 27 to Rum Island County Park – different people.

Coasting down the Santa Fe under (temporarily) blue skies.

Coasting down the Santa Fe under (temporarily) blue skies.

Riding the roller coaster through the shoals.

Riding the roller coaster through the shoals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming at Lily Springs - again no Naked Ed.

Swimming at Lily Springs – again no Naked Ed.

Exploring Jonathan Spring

Exploring Jonathan Spring