Sunday, July 05, 2009

Two Trips in One Post

It's time to start living the life you've imagined.
~Henry James

As I may have mentioned in the previous post, DH was on vacation this past week. We went paddling to the Wakulla on Wednesday; however, with our busy week of doing this, that, and the other thing, I had no time to process the photos. And then we went paddling on the Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers yesterday. So I am combining the two trips into one post. The Wakulla is a wonderful river but lacks the wildlife of the Wacissa, and the Suwannee and Withlacoochee have even less, so there are not many photos (but there's a video!).

The turtles on the Wakulla are far more complacent than those on the Wacissa. These guys just sit there and watch you go by, unless you get very close.

There are usually more gators to be seen on this river (which is interesting since people swim in all sections of this river, unlike the Wacissa where the swimming is limited to the spring areas), but we only saw a couple, and those only because we were looking for them. They were well camouflaged and small.

We didn't paddle all the way to the top bridge but only a little more than halfway. On the way back downstream we saw this cormorant that had caught a fish that was proving to be a challenge for it, size-wise.




Cormorants were the only birds we saw on this trip. This one let us pass by behind it fairly closely.

We saw many manatees, including a baby one. The reflections on the water make photos problematic. I had my underwater camera, which is difficult to use from the kayak since there is no way to see what the lens is pointing at. The water was murky on that day. Nonetheless, I have a very short (murky) video of some manatees that we spent some time with. In the first very short section you may be able to make out the baby manatee swimming above an adult. Also note the white scars on the back of the large one--that's what happens when people in power boats don't bother to slow down in areas known to contain manatees. Sorry about the muffled talking--I didn't think the microphone would pick that up!

So that was the Wakulla trip. Despite the lack of birds, I enjoy that river and plan to get back there again soon.

Yesterday we decided to go to Suwannee River State Park with the kayaks and paddle the rivers. This park has a boat ramp that puts you in the Suwannee. If you paddle to the left from the ramp, you soon reach the confluence of the Suwannee and Withlacoochee rivers. We prefer the Withlachoochee--it's a beautiful green color (the Suwannee is tea-colored due to the tannins in the water) and very clear. So we headed up that way.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you are very familiar with the shoreline of the Wacissa, my usual destination. The edge of the river water is lost in vegetation, and in fact often extends, swamp-like, far into the woods at the shoreline. The edges are lined with leafy greenery. The Withlacoochee is very different! It is lined with limestone rocks in front of, in most places, towering high banks. There is no surface vegetation whatsoever in the part near where the rivers meet (making for even less wildlife than the Wakulla!). It's more stark, but no less beautiful for it.


If one needs to answer the call of nature while paddling the Wacissa, and to nearly the same extent on the Wakulla, one is basically out of luck. The shoreline is not conducive to getting out of the boat. This is one area where the Withlacoochee has a great advantage. And not just in terms of getting out of the boat due to necessity but for quick dips in the river to cool off!

Since we were there on July 4th, we came to several large groups of people enjoying the river water at areas of wide sandy edges. We found a deserted spot at our turnaround point. Submerging in that cool water felt wonderful!

I hope to get back to the Wacissa again this coming week--I miss my birds! Stand by.


Beverly said...

A joy as always to view your blog. I had never looked at your sidebar before until the other day, when I noticed you have other blogs. I sent a link from one of htem to my daughter where you posted about horses. She was impressed!

Kimberlee said...

I wasn't able to view the video due to internet problems. While that was a disappointment, the series you did of the cormorant having lunch almost felt like a video! How fun! And, of course, I always love your turtle shots. :)

Sandra said...

I see Bev just found your sidebar also. I found it on the 4th while looking around. I am enthralled with your photos. The turtle at the top of this post is perfect. Keep Kayaking and snapping photos. Love them all. Waiting to see more of your travels.

Crayons said...

Oh! That's my share of magic for the day. I love the crisp image of the turtle. Nice cropping. The image of the cormorant flopping the fish around was kind of .... gross (?), but captivating nonetheless. Thanks also for the film! It gave me shivers to see how human and animal communicate.

orangeblossomtrails said...

Great blog and photos. I was wondering about your photography and yaking. It looks like you might have a nice camera. How do you keep it dry and safe while yaking?

A Life In Focus Photography said...

lovely blog! enjoy your nature work.

Mary said...

The cormorant eating the fish series is wonderful. I feel like I was there witnessing it. Your photos always make me feel that way.