Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Toy

That's right, my new toy is a pair of feet.

Well, no, it's actually the green sit on top fishing kayak the feet are resting in.

This year when the family asked, "What do you want for Christmas?", I told them a gift card to the kayak store would be nice.

I had picked out a kayak I liked and planned to get it later in 2009 after I had stashed away a few bills. I didn't mind waiting for my gratifikayakication and any little gift cards would just help me work up to my goal.

So, my wife and kids gave me cards, my brother and my parents too and I was still very happy to slowly save the rest and get the kayak in March or April.

But then they went on sale at the store, plus a 10% off coupon came in the mail at the same time and Mrs. FC couldn't stand it.

"You work hard, go get your toy. It's just going to cost you more money if you miss this super sale deal."

Alas ... I succumbed to instant gratifikayakication and now I am a kayaker months ahead of schedule.

Just trying to stimulate the economy ...

So, yesterday I drove up to Fishbone Creek in Dixie County and kayaked for the first time. I've been canoeing for about a bazillion years and the transition to kayaking is pretty intuitive with that paddle time behind me.

The boat handled nicely and is just the kind of stable platform I want for photos and fishing. I launched at the muddy ramp at Fishbone Creek and went upstream with a following tide. Going with the current allowed me to stop and drift up to birds along the sandbars and shoreline. The quiet drift is on a little video I shot, but that will come later on a faster connection.

The nice thing about the kayak is the birds seem to ignore you more than they do in a canoe. They just did not seem concerned about me and mostly went about their business.

Okay birdies ... I'm thinking we have a Willit and perhaps a Greater Yellowlegs in the photo above?
Chime in Avianoholics... you know you want to.

I can't find my bird book since the remodeling shuffle of stuff to hither and yon, so corrections and verifications are appreciated.

Obviously a plover. I'm going with killdeer, but await your annointment or chastisement.

The water was full of mullet and schools of redfish too. I didn't bring a rod this time, but the reds, the kayak, and me have a date in the future.

This is an area of clean water and not far from a major clamfarming lease area, so I imagine any oysters in here are probably safe for gathering. I did not gather any, since it wasn't this day's plan ... plus, you really want to check the map of approved shellfish gathering areas before you go slurping any bivalvia buddies down.
I plan to do just that though.

This pic is closely cropped as the rascal almost flew out of the picture. I like the way the spray droplets give a sense of motion.

As I said earlier, I went upstream on a rising tide for photo purposes, but I also wanted to see how the kayak felt paddling against a current ... remember this was a shakedown cruise. I got my wish as the tide and the wind both picked up briskly to challenge me on the way back.

It wasn't bad at all though. The kayak handles well for a short boat.

It was a day dominated by blue. Today promises to be the same ... if I can sneak away again. I left the kayak on the trailer just in case.
Maybe freshwater today ...?

I think he's maxxed out his wading limit.

Questions you might have:

  1. Where the heck is this place, FC? I'm not telling you ... you might move here... Just kidding, this is part of the Lower Suwannee River NWR. Google it and look for Fishbone Creek on their maps.
  2. What kind of facilities are present? Bushes and trees mostly ... and a small observation tower and mud launching ramp at Fishbone Creek.
  3. What about this Dixie Mainline Road thing? What are you ... psychic? I haven't mentioned that yet ... it's tomorrow's post. Weird...
  4. What did you have for lunch on this trip? Water (not bottled!), a protein bar and about 3 satsumas.
  5. Is there cell phone service in the area? Not that I could tell and I have Alltel which has the best rural reception around the nature coast. You will be on your own for a change. My family had no idea where I was as I was going to call when I found a place to explore ... too late I discovered there was no service. I went anyway of course, but I don't recommend a no float plan policy.
  6. What kind of kayak is that? She's a Pelican Castaway 11-6. Go here for all the details. Note: I did not get mine from that store.
  7. Expensive? Are you kidding? I'm a teacher. I got mine from a local Sports Authority store. It usually lists for $499, but during the holidays was marked down to $449, plus there was an additional 10% off deal, which dropped it to the $400 zone. You can spend a heck of a lot more on sit on top fishing kayaks, but this one seemed to be the right boat at the right price.

Tomorrow, it's either Payne's Prairie roadside gators or the Dixie Mainline Trail ...or some Bear antic that hasn't even occurred yet.

Have a safe New Year's Eve. I will be spending mine cheering on my boy at the final night of a three night basketball tournament.

That should keep me out of trouble.


roger said...

oh dear. i am jealous. and envious. what a perfect gift for you.

Anonymous said...

Very cool!!

What fun to see your photo's from a different view.

Good luck to Junior!


Deb said...


Of course your toy is also a present to all of us who enjoy your nature photos and adventures. In the middle of winter, I can get my open water fix here!

tai haku said...

I got a fishing kayak from the better half for my birthday. Kayaking is fine. Fishing is fine. Kayaking and Fishing together are, for me, problematic. I went out onto the flats and ended up being towed around by a monster cuda for half an hour (I was lure fishing for tarpon). I've felt a little like I lack the overall masterfull control to a) lure fish in the spots I want to and b) maintain control of the kayak at the same time - multitasking is generally ok but close-in casting/playing big fish as well as paddling ain't going so well. Any tips?

robin andrea said...

What a great gift! Roger wants one of those, but I think he already alluded to that in his comment. About those birds, really nice shots.

Arkansas Patti said...

Welcome to the world of kayaks FC. You are so right, wildlife just ignores you when your butt is level with or 2 inches below water line. Still remember, it is hard to get respect from gators in that position. I was never threatened but they did get my attention on several occasion. Arkansas lacks the abundant wildlife of Fl but we do not have gators in the mountain rivers and lakes. Enjoy your new toy.

BeachHunter said...

I purely enjoy your blog posts. A kayak is on my wish list too. Glad you got yours. Looking forward to more great perspectives on Florida.

Freste said...

You got a Yack? Well paddle my backside and call me Shirley!!
Nothing better than a toy that stirs your soul. Enjoy every minute.
Best of luck and creative use of skill and aptitude to Jr.

threecollie said...

Cool gift! Spectacular photos.
And the killdeer is indeed a killdeer. lol

Just the Right Size said...

I'm jealous too! Think of all the great pics, fish, and shellfish you're gonna be able to get to!

Bear is gonna be jealous too!

ChrisC and JonJ said...

How neat!!Someone around our house has been whining for one.Told him-"Just go get the d@#$ thing!"

Dan said...

I think you're going to love the kayak. For me there is a much lower energy barrier for using a kayak vs. a canoe. And from personal experience, I highly recommend some suntan lotion on those feet!

swamp4me said...

Congrats on the toy! Kayaks are a lot of fun I know you will enjoy yours for a variety of activities. Don't be surprised, however, when you discover that your trusty canoe is still the best boat for some jobs...

Laura said...

That is the perfect gift for you! Rick and I have wanted a kayak for years, but haven't bought one for the same reasons you mentioned... all financial! I'm so glad you went ahead and sprung for it, it will definitely pay for itself with every photo and every single outing.
Happy New Year!

Miz S said...

Well, it's true that you have been a very good boy this year (at least, according to your blog), so I'm sure you deserve such a nice present. Enjoy it in good health!

And good luck to Junior tonight!

Kathleen said...

You are going to have many wonderful times in your new toy. Instant gratifikayakication is awesome!

Hurricane Teen said...

Alright!! Welcome to the wonderful world of SOT kayaking. We have a Pelican, too, but it's a tandem. They're good economy kayaks :-D

Lady Jane said...

Totally cool! I rather fancy a kayak myself, but only want the Hobie one with Mirage Drive (I am lazy).
Gorgeous shots.. enjoy your new toy:)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever dumped in at any of the places on the Dixie Mainline road in a canoe. Eager to hear about the post if you use the yak. I hear it is better in the summer because the water is typically higher.

Dani said...

What a wonderful present FC! I know your going to have a great time using it.

Alan said...

A wonderful special Christmas toy and great photos. I'm sure there will be many more in the future.

Is your camera waterproof and sealed? That would be my only concern. I've thought about doing the kayak tours they do in Guana or Mantanzas but my camera is not weathersealed and I would be too worried to take it along, which would almost defeat the purpose of going.

Floridacracker said...

come on by, you can take it for a spin.

You guessed it yesterday, but I had to make you wait! Good job!

I like that idea! Thanks.

I can give fishing advice, but would never give kayak advice after one trip.
You could fish for smaller fish tho ... :)

Thanks! Yes, I think you know what to get the boy on his next occasion!

Ark Patti,
Thanks for the welcome. I've had the same gator thoughts and plan to give them even more of the respect I usually send their way.

Beach Hunter David,
Thank you and welcome to Pure Florida! I'll try to keep things interesting. Hope you get that kayak!

I better stick to paddling this kayak, ... one new skill at a time.

Thanks!I must have hit these bird ID's right, so far no birder gestapo have shown up on my porch.

Just Right,
What ever I get, I promise to share here.

Chris & Jon,
That's what Mrs. FC told me!

I can see that already ... the energy thing.
As for sunscreen, believe me I'm a dedicated user. I actually don't paddle barefoot, but had forgotten to bring my old fishy sneakers this time.

I can see that too. Nice to have the option now.

I thought this would be something you guys would either have or want. Cool thing is ... there's all kind of accessories to get! Plus, now I really need that cargo rack for the top of the JEEP!

Miz S,
Well, ... we teachers have to have some way of getting away from it all... as you know. I shall strive to live up to my kayak.

Let's hope so, wherever it takes me I'll share it here.

I couldn't see or justify spending 1500 dollars on a kayak, and this one seemed to meet my needs. I agree with your assessment.

Lady Jane,
Sounds good. Anything Hobie is usually quality. I hope you get your lazy kayak. Mirage drive ... is that the footpedal deal?

Alan D,
Welcome to Pure Florida!
Both those creeks on the mainline were mighty skinny water yesterday ... tide was out.
One looked so clear I suspect a spring upstream. THAT one I plan to explore.

I think you're right. I hope to be on the water a little more often now.

No it's not waterproof. I do carry a watertight bag and cell phone case for canoeing/kayaking, but a camera has to be out to be useful for wildlife photos, so I keep it around my neck and assume the risk.
I really don't tip over when solo so I'm not too concerned about that.
I also carry some handy garbage bags for quick inclement weather coverage.

Cathy S. said...

Congrats on the new toy. Youngest son will tell you that Kayaks are like potato chips, you can't have just one because someone always wants to go out with you. He has a Pelican, also bought at Sports Authority, which we call Buttertub because it rather unsteady. He bought another one, Precision, I think, that he likes better because it is sleeker and easier to manuver. He spent his day out on the water tooling around on the south shore of Tampa Bay. If you ever get down this way, I am sure he'd love to show you some good places to fish and paddle.

tsiya said...

Put an oyster over hot Oak coals until it bubbles, and forget about the germs! Maybe that's why I have such an absolutely magnificent immune system today, LOL!
If you eat enough dirt when you're little it either kills you, or perfects you!

S N B said...

Congratulations! Just think of it as your National Board Award Boat! I had promised my family when I was working on it that if I passed (and we were still married and living together!) we would take a trip when the first check arrived. We spent that Christmas on a wonderful (if icy) trip to the Grand Canyon.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I heard there was lake up one of those with some good fishing in it. Had an old boy in Munden Creek tell me that.

jojo said...

AREN'T YOU SKEERED? In our waters? with gators? I'm too much of a nervous nelly i guess.

congrats on the new toy. it is purdy. and can't wait to see new pics from down there.

Floridacracker said...

Cathy S,
Sounds great. I just found out an old friend of mine is the superintendent of a Hawaiian park. Going to your site to leave a question.

I agree with that 100%, today's kids are too clean and that is why they are so allergy prone.
You left off the dip in Datil sauce.

Thanks for the tip, Dixie County is still virgin territory to me.

The dentist scares me.
Nothing else.

Floridacracker said...

That is exactly what it is. That was my original plan, but it fell into Christmas!

Happy New Years !

Cathy S. said...

That is exactly the woman who has been so kind to Robby. Small world. I will tell him to tell her he knows you in a round about way. He has decided not to renew his contract for another season. He wants to come back to Florida, Pensacola and a certain someone. He has applied at Gulf Islands and is also looking into Fish adn Wildlife. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he will find someone and not end up back at Sports Authority although that employee discount is sweet.

Floridacracker said...

Cathy S,
Too funny. Sticks (her nickname) is a sweetheart. I haven't seen her for decades, but I still think of her as a good friend.
I'm pretty sure she doesn't know PF exists.

Julie Zickefoose said...

I hereby predict that at some point, within a year, Bear is going to try to climb aboard that 'yak and dump you out. Not wishing it on you, just sayin'.

Delighted that you're kayaking. We all think you've earned it, too. I take a little decked canoe out with a double paddle and the bird photography ops are ossum.

I come to your blog as much for the neologisms as the nature. I like the way you invent words and kind of cram them together, like the Germans do.

Floridacracker said...

I will take him canoeing at some point, all my other labs learned to behave in a canoe.
He may have to get his own kayak tho!
I'm glad you enjoy my wordplay, if you can't have fun with a language then what good is it?
I do. Have fun that is.

Ericka said...

ooh, very cool toy! poor bear. i imagine once he settles a bit, he can learn to be a kayak-bear. :-)

i love paddling around in my little canoe but i've never tried a kayak. something to consider...