There is indeed, perhaps, no better way to hold communion with the sea
than sitting in the sun on the veranda of a fishermen's cafe.
~Joseph W. Beach
It was time to return to Cedar Key, and this time with the kayak! The new rec boat, a Necky Manitou 13, went along on this trip. Here it is waiting to be loaded during the packing process:
I had reserved a cottage but ended up in a condo (long story and it ended up working out very well). Info on the condo property, including a link to their site, and photos from around town on this trip are on the Photo Miscellanea blog.
I was given a condo on the first floor of Building B (B102--I recommend it). All the condos have balconies with views of the nearby inlets and islands. This was the view from my balcony (if you look closely you can see a pelican perched on one of the docks on the left side of the water).
The kayak could be easily launched from a shallow area next to that little wooden walkway at the end of the yard. I did minimal unpacking (just transferring food from the cooler to the refrigerator) before heading out. Here's the view from the water right after launching.
There are a few docks on the left side that had two birds on them as I passed by. A pelican (probably the same as the one in the balcony view above),
and an egret.
I tend to seek out pelicans whenever I am near saltwater. Since I rarely paddle in saltwater, I seldom see them from the same level. I had a great time on this trip! First I passed these two.
Similar to the birds on the Wacissa, these pelicans see a lot of paddlers and are unconcerned with our proximity. This one was perched on a piling and while it was fully aware I was nearby, I had to wait a bit for it to look my way.
Such great coloring. I continued on the channel, heading for the Gulf. And here's yet another group of pelicans milling around near the dock of another condo property.
I was not the only kayak on the water (not even close), and liked the way this boat looked as I reached the Gulf (note more pelicans on the pilings).
I saw a gull coming in for a landing and took a series of photos of it. It's near touchdown, so far so good,
Putting on the brakes...
Might have come in a bit fast...
Hard to know if it overshot or if it had spotted a fish. Less than graceful, either way.
And off it went.
A flock of white pelicans flew by overhead:
The number and variety of birds that can be spotted on just a short paddling trip is astounding. I tended to concentrate more on photographing the ones I see less often on paddling trips, but there were many great egrets and snowy egrets as well as the more saltwater-specific birds. No need to pursue them from one side of the channels to the other, you could just sit still and they would fly by. Here comes another one!
I headed back to the condo (if I had known the next day would be too windy to go back out, I would have stayed on the water much longer!). In the inlet that leads to the launch access I came to two pairs of lesser scaups.
(The other female was lagging behind a bit...) They seemed a little more skittish than the other birds had been and watched me warily, keeping their distance.
The female of that pair took off flying. As I was drifting along, the male decided maybe leaving was a good idea. So with a few hops
he was away.
At the risk of being redundant, this is a perfect paddling destination! And the residents are wisely promoting it as such, with many places renting kayaks. Everywhere you walk through town, you will see kayaks.
Here's a collection of them in the parking area of the condo building.
I spotted this paddler and catamaran in the water during a walk through town.
Before I left Cedar Key, I made reservations for my next stay there--I can't wait to get back out on that water again. I had been told that one could sometimes spot roseate spoonbills in the mangroves along the water edge. I wasn't lucky enough this time; maybe next time.
Meanwhile, I will be getting back to my regular paddling spots. Stand by.