Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Kayaking The OTHER Wekiva River

Come on.
Grab your paddle and I'll show you some of the "other" Wekiva River.
Around here, we pronounce it "WE-KIVA" (LONG I, ACCENT THE WE)

The other Wekiva is down around that little town that the mouse ruined ... starts with an O, but it escapes me now.
THAT Wekiva is actually a state park.

This one is not, but it should be.

Push off from that bank and I'll show you what I mean.

Since we are going upstream from the mouth, we'll need to launch on the Waccasassa River first, then paddle up to the confluence.
When the Waccasassa curves to our left, we will go straight into the mouth of the Wekiva.
Here we go ...

The Waccasassa is a beauty in her own right, but like the Wekiva, she has some blemishes.
Curiously, each and every blemish is courtesy of us.
Imagine that.

Take this old shrimp boat for example ...


This vessel is pictured in the second post here on Pure Florida, April 11, 2005. She was floating back then. Today she has floundered and is a derelict vessel crumbling and rusting away ... adding who knows what pollutants to the beautiful Waccasassa River system.

I could so RANT right now, but it is such a beautiful October day.


We are still on the Waccasassa and you can see how tidal she is, even here, miles from the Gulf of Florida.

This is a place where fiddler crabs scuttle over cypress knees as salty ocean slowly yields to spring fed freshness.

A juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron totes a crab, that even de-legged, seems too big to swallow.

Could you look just a little more dino?
That eye ... I think I saw it in the kitchen in Jurassic Park.
Clever girl.

We left the Waccasassa behind after that Night Heron.
Now, we are on the Wekiva. She's fed by Wekiva Springs, miles upstream from where you and I are paddling. The water is now clearer, the bottom cleaner due to a brisk current that issues from the spring.

It's still influenced by the tides ebb and flow, but right now, with the tide out, freshwater rules.
Let's push on upstream, when we poop out we can always turn around and cruise back with the current.

No telling what is up around the next bend ... and there are lots of bends.

Somebody ought to paint that scene.
It's classic Florida Cracker Cattlesqueish.

This Cracker bull was guarding his herd as they fed in the river swamp.
I was so focused on the cows up ahead wading into the river for a drink, that I didn't notice this guy ... just a few feet to my right ...until he made that low rumbling growl ... do cattle growl?
It sure sounded like a growl to me.

I was too busy gauging the depth of the river between my kayak and his horns to focus on his voice, but I think I know menace when I hear it.

How do you explain getting gored by a bull while kayaking?


It was a scene, so timeless and Pure Floridian that I just stared at the young bull as he glared at me, framed by cypress, palmetto, and palm.

Sometimes you just have to pause and drink it in.

There were more bends of course.
I'll tell you about them in another post.


threecollie said...

Wonderful post! Thank you for the delightful trip. And that bull had the sharpest horns I have ever seen on a bovine. Would not want to meet him, in a boat or anywhere else!

Sayre said...

Wow! Yes, bulls can growl or at lease give you that impression... What a find and a wonderful picture! Wild escapees from another time?

Dani said...

Such wonderful weather we've been having this past week. Great for getting out and about.

Shelllady said...

Thanks so much for the trip...need that about now, getting cold here (VA) and I truly need the rest and relaxation now as life is crazy around here these days...will look forward to the other bends!!

Thunder Dave said...

My only experience with bulls, and cattle, has been on dry land! I can tell you that a bull can move much faster than you think!

Marilyn Kircus said...

Thanks so much for sharing this trip. I'm SOO way behind on my paddling. Hopefully, I'll get to rectify that a lot in the near future here in Louisiana and back in Texas. And I've done a little paddling in Florida, especially Boiling and Titi Creeks where I remember St. John's wart and thousands of pitcher plants and being able to see through the clear water to the bottom and watch a little alligator.

And a friend and I paddled at the eastern manatee refuge over two rivers on another wonderful trip.
And I camped and paddled out of Caya Costa State Park. I think you have at least as many fantastic paddles as Louisiana does.

Hopefully, I'll be paddling on the Sacramento River this winter. And leading canoe trips in Oregon next spring. Can't wait.

Carol said...

Great trip...loved the Cracker bull..I always look for cows along the St Johns....slowly getting crowded out.

We don't paddle..but our trawler usually travels around 5-6 so we do get to see a lot that most boaters dont. The inflatable dingy lets me row along quietly when at anchor.

Hope to do some cruising soon


Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a handsome young fellow. No, not the one in the first photo the one in the last photo. ;)

Caroline said...

The river is lovely, but becoming a kayak-kabob has no appeal at all!

Cydney said...

This post was fantastic, sure do love it when folks talk about our Cracker livestock. Thanks for giving 'em a plug!

debbie said...

Love all of the pictures. "Gored by a bull while kayaking" . . . what a great headline for a news story.

LaDivaCucina said...

What I love about canoeing and kayaking is the silence which allows one to creep up on animals unaware instead of those obnoxious and loud air boats that scare everything away! What a fantastic trip you took me on, after we finally settle in, I want to spend more weekends doing this sort of stuff!

K. Clem ksclements@yahoo.com said...

Heading to Apopka this weekend to explore the Wekiva River. Thinking of putting in at Kings and seeing how far I can travel before weather or night chase me off the river. Usually paddle the Loxahatchee in South Florida so thi will be a new adventure. Is there a club or group in the area that you can point me to so I can maybe find a paddle buddy for the day? Thanks for the beautiful photos.