Friday, March 31, 2006

Lake Seminole, Merritt Mill Pond

Another two-night camping trip to Three Rivers. I spent some time paddling the first day I got there. This heron was fishing in the horticulture just beyond the campground boat ramp.

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I took my Hurricane Aquasports Santee XL on this trip. I have not been in this kayak for over a year, since I got the Mystic in December of 2004. The Santee is a handsome boat but very wide at 28”. In current or windy conditions, this is less than ideal. However, on a calm lake that was dredged and created by damming a river, a lake that has a lot of underwater timber that is just below the surface and can create a tipping problem for a 21” wide kayak, the Santee is, in fact, ideal. It’s a fine boat. It’s a bit of a sacrifice when it comes to the distance each paddle stroke yields, and glide, but it more than compensates with its stability in these conditions. So I enjoyed it and we got to know each other again.

I passed an egret that posed nicely on the shoreline.

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I was out about 3 hours on this trip. As I was approaching the boat ramp, a hawk flew overhead and landed nearby. A lucky photo opportunity!

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The next day I drove a short distance to Merritt Mill Pond. This is one of my favorite paddling spots, but it’s too far away for a day trip. However, it’s right down the road from Three Rivers. So off I went with the Santee.

This is such a super paddling area. This water is clearer than the Wakulla or Wacissa. The shoreline is somewhat populated with houses, but there are also natural areas. It’s a nice 1-hour paddle from the boat ramp on Hunter Fish Camp Road to the Blue Springs Recreational Area.

On the way back downstream, I got out to stretch my legs (I like the Santee, but the fact is that I can paddle for 4+ hours in the Mystic with no discomfort and I get kayak butt within the first hour in the Santee. Could be a seat problem; I understand they have a new seat in the newer models). Nice view from the shoreline.

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If I were a fishing person, I would go fishing at Merritt Mill Pond. While I was drifting downstream, I saw a fish THIS big (hold your hands out in front of you, about three feet apart) swim by my kayak. I have seen longer gar on the Wakulla, but overall, this was the biggest fish I have seen for a long time (gar are long, but skinny).

Great paddling on this trip. I had hoped to spend my last day, Friday, on the lake, but it was very windy, so instead I packed up my campsite and headed to Torreya State Park to check out their campground and trails. That story is on Camping Tent Tales.

I’ll be getting out again soon. Stand by.


clairesgarden said...

sounds like a great trip, I just looked up your mystic on the inernet it looks like a great boat, I paddle a narrow boat but its 17 and a half feet long, a valley norkapp origional(heritage they call it now!!)you see such great wildlife where you are, what kind of camera are you using? I just got a canon C2IS , but can't take it out on the boat as its not waterproof. good paddling!!

clairesgarden said...

Peggy, the camera I use is the S2IS, I was suffering from too much air exposure last night! the paddling trip was longer than I had expected it to be!

Wildside Musing said...

Hi Peggy! Thanks for your comment at my blog! I visited yours yesterday AM via Claire's, but didn't leave a mark! Great photos!!! (I wish my computer wasn't so slow to draw them all up...)

pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

Hi Peggy,
I tried to find Merrit's pond on my way back from Big Lagoon but I can't fnd it in the Gazeteer. Where?????? BLSP was fun but the bugs are out and I am a scratchy mess!