Ocklawaha River – March 16, 2016

Beautiful paddle yesterday on the Ocklawaha River from the CR 316 West boat ramp to the temporary Orange Springs boat ramp, 13.3 miles as we paddled it.

The day started with lowering clouds, but it burned off before noon and turned into an absolutely gorgeous blue-sky day.  We scheduled this paddle for the end of the draw-down on the river. (For non-Floridians: Every 3-4 years the state opens the dam at Rodman Reservoir and lets the water flow out to kill off the vegetation that would otherwise choke the reservoir.  The water level drops 6-8 feet during this period.)  The water level is back up a foot or two, but still has a month or so to go before it’s back to normal.  Orange Springs temp boat launch is still above water, but not for too much longer. We couldn’t get close to Eureka Lock due to the vegetation choke.  We had lunch and a swim at beautiful Cannon Spring.

Couldn't get to Eureka (defunct lock from aborted Cross Florida Barge Canal) -- too much vegetation choking the canal. But we had fun trying!

Couldn’t get to Eureka (defunct lock from aborted Cross Florida Barge Canal) — too much vegetation choking the canal. But we had fun trying!

Lovely paddle under fluffy white clouds on the Ocklawaha north of CR 316.

Lovely paddle under fluffy white clouds on the Ocklawaha north of CR 316.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) checking out the fishing scene near Orange Springs.

An Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) checking out the fishing scene near Orange Springs.

Pretty little gator (about 18 inches long) Still wearing his yellow stripes.

A pretty little gator (about 18 inches long) Still wearing his yellow stripes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunch break at beautiful Cannon Spring. Water level in spring is now about 4 feet

Lunch break at beautiful Cannon Spring. Water level in spring is now about 4 feet

Underwater shot of Cannon Spring

Underwater shot with little fishies of Cannon Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Underwater shot showing vent of Cannon Spring

Underwater shot showing vent of Cannon Spring

Common Blue Violet. Thousands of them are blooming along the bank near Blue Store launch.

Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia). Thousands of them are blooming along the bank near Blue Store launch.