Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fast Times on the Wakulla River

It’s been over a month since I have been to the Wakulla, so it was time to go back. Very bad timing as I got there right before low tide, but I go to NC next week and the tide on the Wakulla is less than ideal for my paddle time preferences all this week, so today was as good a day as any. They are repairing the boat ramp (again). This time they have actually removed the ancient cyprus stump from beneath the ramp area, which will prevent the knees that grow out of it from cracking and ultimately breaking up the concrete ramp—as has happened following previous “repairs.” They are also extending it so that it will not drop off abruptly during low tide.

The various repair paraphernalia was spread all over the area, and I was having difficulty maneuvering the car to the canoe/kayak launch area to the right—which, as usual at low tide, was pure muck. The woman at T-n-T Hideaway, the canoe and kayak livery adjacent to the public ramp, offered to let me park in their lot and launch from their ramp, which was greatly appreciated.

The current was unusually fast. I know, I said that about the Ichetucknee, and so now you are wondering if it’s really a current problem…or am I just a wimp? Nope, no wimpiness here. I talked to the T-n-T woman when I got back and she said she had noticed that it had not let up at all in the four hours I was out. We also noted that the river was still at low-tide level two hours before the predicted high tide. She said that the tides tend to be unusually high and unusually low around full moon times. She also said that’s why they were repairing the bridge at this time, since the very low tide makes it easier to extend it.

So it wasn’t the idyllic paddle I had hoped for, although I did have the river nearly to myself. The edges have a very late-summer look to them, as if the greenery is tired and ready to quit for the year; brown leaves on the pickerel rushes, and drab green leaves on the trees. We have also had uncommonly little rain lately, which doesn’t help.

I spent a lot of time in the off-river backwater areas this time since the current doesn’t affect those much. I came up on this ibis. I laughed out loud when I saw how this picture had come out. Several captions come to mind. I don’t know, maybe you had to be there… or be me. Anyway, it’s one of my favorite ibis pictures so far.

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For the photography people, the green blur in the lower right corner is leaves that were in the extreme foreground; I was using a zoom lens. A Photoshop expert could probably get it out. I try to just ignore it.

I saw two manatees—which was not expected since we have had some cool nights and I thought they would have moved down south a bit by now. I couldn’t get close enough to watch them or photograph them in either direction—couldn’t stop paddling going upstream since I would immediately be swept downstream, and couldn’t stay still enough when I passed them again going downstream. The downstream float was pretty speedy.

I did, though, get this picture. If you read the previous post, you know about my ongoing attempts to photograph belted kingfishers, which are little birds that zip around from tree to tree and swoop quickly over the water. These guys are rarely still, particularly when a paddler is in sight, and so they are hard to capture in a photo. Here’s my latest attempt:

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The current let up slightly near the island. This gave me plenty of time to take the next picture. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Amazing Balancing Turtle!

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(The turtle is fine; I’ve seen this turtle perched here before. After I passed, it got itself off the log.)

Only three pictures from this trip, but somewhat unique ones.

I hope to get back out once more before vacation. Stand by.

1 comment:

clairesgarden said...

fantastic pictures. I would be so tempted to swipe the turtle off his balace in case he was stuck and had to stay there till high tide!
I think the ibis is looking right at you, amazing blue eye!