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Wekiva River Report

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Report By:  Unknown    Date: 4/6/2008 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 10 photos     Map & Directions: View

Katie's Landing, upstream 5 miles to the St. Johns River and back. Trip #3 of yakdave's Wekiva River paddles.

My Report:

I have previously posted two Wekiva River trips, each commencing at Katie's Landing. The first, downstream 4 miles to Blackwater Creek, then up Blackwater, then back to Katie's. No. 2, up the Wekiva and back. Here is a third. Down the Wekiva, past Blackwater Creek, to the St Johns River and back. A 10 mile trip.

As on Saturday, the forecast Sunday called for afternoon showers. I got a paddle in Saturday, staying mostly dry,
hopefully I'd finish before the heavy stuff today.

Three yakers just put in as I arrived. I was sent off by a sand hill crane strutting about the landing. On the other side, a great egret, a great blue heron and several ibis foraged.

As described in my January, 2008 report, there are homes along the right bank of the River, the left bank is the Seminole State Forest. The Lower Wekiva River State Preserve begins about a mile downstream, and from that point to the St Johns, there is no development, just nature.

Near the confluence with the St Johns, manatees are sometimes seen. Perhaps I'd be lucky and see one or two today. I was ten minutes into the paddle and saw something sticking out of the water. Snorkel ? No. Crab trap marker ? No. Hey, it's a float and antenna. A satellite tracking device attached to a manatee's tail. I went to the Wild Tracks website (when I got home, not from the yak) and found out this is Hurricane. It was three miles further up the Wekiva than I have ever seen a manatee. If you read the link, you see that the Wild Track folks have some concern.
I sent the project director an email, describing my sighting. To my untrained eye, Hurricane seemed to be fine.

What a start. A manatee, and the weather was fine, partly cloudy. Few people on the River, anglers mostly. I came upon the three yakers I saw from the launch and asked if they saw the manatee. "So that's what that was !"

On Saturady, I saw my first ever roosting swallow tailed kite. All previous views were in flight. Of course, I saw another today, and got a good picture. Other birds, not counting those mentioned already; green, blue, and tricolored herons, snowy egeret, limpkins, turkeys, vultures, hawks, pileated woodpeckers, wood ducks, mottled ducks, kingfishers, osprey, cormorants, a bald eagle and a prothonotary warbler.

Saw several alligators on the two hour twenty minute paddle to the St Johns. When I first did this paddle, I would go into the St Johns, cross it, circle an island in the River and come back. But after never seeing manatees in this part of the St Johns, and seeing them in the Wekiva, I have heeded the manatee's lesson- avoid big fast boats. I did not see any manatees in the Manatee Zone, near the St Johns. Hurricane would be my one for the day.

More gators on the way back. Plenty of turtles, basking on logs and swimming in the River. Bass, mullet, pickerel and other fish.

This section of the Wekiva is swampy hardwood, not a lot of places to land. I ate a sandwich, the yak wedged in some reeds, to keep from drifting from where I came.

The partly cloudy sky turned mostly cloudy. Intermittent sprinkles. Not as heavy as Saturday on Rock Springs Run. Just before Wekiva Haven, a large brown shape moved in the woods. Deer ? I was in the perfect spot to find out. A canal allowed me to get on the backside of the area. Not a deer, a turkey, a huge tom. It flew across the narrow canal, joined another, and headed deeper into the woods.

I returned to the spot where I saw the manatee, but did not see it. It is possible it headed upstream, deep enough to keep the tag underwater as I paddled over, but I doubt it. The Wekiva is a shallow River, I think it went downstream of Katie's. I thought about going past Katie's to look for it, but the rain got hard. Time to call it a day .

Total trip time, five hours.

I rate it 4 of 5, deducting a point for motorboats- which are usually courteous.

4-7-08- Here is the response to my inquiry about the manatee.
Hi Dave,
Thanks for the info on the boy. I will put your
visual into our database.
This is definitely an unusual area for him to be in
because most manatees
don't bother to continue up such shallow waters for
too far of a distance. He
was located today at the 46 bridge so it should be
interesting to see if he
decides to continue south or eventually turn back.
Definitely an explorer!

Take care, Monica

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Distance (miles): 10
Fees/Costs $: Free

Photos from Wekiva River:    (Click image to view full size)

Katie's Landing No Comm
Katie's Landing

Sand hill crane wishes yakdave bon voyage

Hurricane No Comm

Satelite tracking device. I was unable to get a publication worthy picture of this wayward manatee

Catch of the Day No Comm
Catch of the Day

Not the clearest photo, but I had to post it.

Swallow tail kite No Comm
Swallow tail kite

Here is a clear picture of a beutiful bird

Confluence No Comm

Wekiva meets the St Johns River

Alligator splash No Comm
Alligator splash

Look close- one root is a tail

Great Blue Heron No Comm
Great Blue Heron

I tok it because the Wekiva is in the foreground, the St Johns in the background

Tri colored heron No Comm
Tri colored heron
Limpkin No Comm
Picture of the Day No Comm
Picture of the Day

I had to look this guy up on the web. It's a prothonotary warbler. According to the Cornell U Guide, it breeds in wooded areas near water. Like the Wekiva

Post Date: 4/6/2008

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