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Weeki Wachee River Report
(Rogers Park)

View: More Weeki Wachee River reports, Southwest FL Locations 

Report By:  ed    Date: 6/27/2009 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 18 photos     Map & Directions: View

Saturday started early as Diane (flkrakr), Ruth and I met at Rogers Park for a trip on the Weeki Wachee River. It's 6.5 miles (each way) of paddling fun; crystal clear water, healthy current, incredible scenery and horny manatees. Who could ask for more?

My Report:

Saturday and the alarm is going off at 5:30am. It can only mean one thing - an early morning kayaking trip!

At 7am I pulled into the parking lot at Rogers Park on the Weeki Wachee River. Parking is $2 per vehicle during the summer months. Within minutes, Diane (flkrakr on Green Wave) and Ruth appeared, eager to hit the water. We quickly unloaded, packed the boats and started paddling upstream. I have to say one good thing about early morning trips - it is generally cooler and less people. The other possibility is that I was only half-awake so maybe I missed seeing the people.

We made great progress even with the normally strong current. Tide was in and the river seemed unusually high. The first two miles of the trip has houses of every possible shape and size on the north side of the river. The south side is marsh and flood plain.

We didn't see too many birds, gators or other wildlife but did spot a young manatee. Instead of continuing upstream, he turned down one of the housing development canals. With some luck he knew where he was going.

After leaving the houses behind we passed the two former swim beaches and picnic areas. In prior years these were open to the public and made for a great place to stop, rest, get lunch and play in the water. Unfortunately due to repeated vandalism the beaches are closed so we moved on.

As we neared what is probably the four mile mark (give or take a mile), we spotted two manatees mating near a little bend in the river. It wasn't until a few minutes later that we noticed the female had a baby in tow. Junior had to sit there and watch. He would have been really embarrassed had he realized there were three humans watching also.

Many photos later, Diane, Ruth and I got back in the kayaks and continued upstream. Nearing 10am, three hours after the put-in at Rogers park, we passed the canoe launch near the spring head. Lots of rental boats were preparing for a downstream run. A few more minutes of paddling and we arrived at the end of the line.

It's easy to tell when you've reached Weeki Wachee Spring. Just past the park service boat dock is a thick metal cable crossing the river and a sign that says "NO VESSELS". The water is about two feet deep here so we hopped out for a well deserved 20-minute break.

The trip downriver takes about 1.5 hours or less depending on how hard you paddle, how many motorboats you dodge, how many idiots you yell at and if you stop and talk with the Sheriff's deputy trying to convince him to patrol further up river.

The trip took a little over 5 hours and by the time we got back to Rogers Park, I was ready for lunch at Bayport Inn.

Be sure to checkout Diane's photos from this Weeki Wachee Trip.

She has taken some outstanding pics and you'll see more of the river and Bayport Inn where we had lunch.

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 13
Fees/Costs $: $2 parking in summer

Photos from Rogers Park:    (Click image to view full size)

Heading up Weeki Restricted
Heading up Weeki

Diane and Ruth passing some of the more interesting dock murals on the Weeki Wachee River.

Go Toward The Light Restricted
Go Toward The Light

Early morning light and shadows on the Weeki Wachee River.

Closed Beach Restricted
Closed Beach

About 4 miles up river are two former swim beach and picnic areas. Closed for a few years due to vandals.

Diane Photographer Restricted
Diane Photographer

Diane and her underwater camera getting ready to take some manatee photos on the Weeki Wachee River.

Manatee Mating Restricted
Manatee Mating

Diane shooting video of manatees mating. They were kicking up clouds of sediment (for privacy?)

Manatee Mating 2 Restricted
Manatee Mating 2

I couldn't resist and had to get a photo of Manatees mating. Kids - cover your eyes!

Miss Sunbeam Restricted
Miss Sunbeam

Ruth found the perfect place to have her picture taken on the Weeki Wachee River.

Ed at Weeki Wachee Restricted
Ed at Weeki Wachee

Now it's Ruth's turn to take my photo.

Diane All Smiles Restricted
Diane All Smiles

Diane looking pretty pleased after getting photos of manatees mating. Notice how she is even color coordinated with the river? :)

Ruth's Spider Web Restricted
Ruth's Spider Web

Somehow I convinced Ruth to look through a spider web to get her photo taken.

Weeki Wachee Rapids? Restricted
Weeki Wachee Rapids?

With paddle blades a flying, Ruth makes it up a small set of limestone shoals that has developed on the Weeki Wachee.

Two Big Turtles Restricted
Two Big Turtles

Two of the biggest turtles that I've seen in a long time.

Inside looking out Restricted
Inside looking out

Diane was taking a photo through a log, so the log (with Ed's help) took one of her!

We made it! Restricted
We made it!

Diane and Ruth nearing Weeki Wachee Springs at the end of a 6.5 mile upstream paddle.

Ruth at Springs Restricted
Ruth at Springs

Ruth getting out of her kayak at the "no vessels" marker for a well deserved rest.

Park Tour Boat Restricted
Park Tour Boat

The Weeki Wachee State Park service tour boat heading downstream.

Following Friends Restricted
Following Friends

Our old friends, the mating manatees, complete with kid manatee heading downstream at Weeki Wachee.

Diane Shooting Video Restricted
Diane Shooting Video

As we headed back toward Rogers Park we got lucky and spotted Mom, Dad and Jr. manatee heading downstream too.


Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsWe stopped for lunch at Bayport Inn, a biker bar / inn / restaurant located at 4835 Cortez Blvd. I had chicken; Ruth and Diane had fish sandwiches. Good variety menu, large portions, food good but not spectacular. Has been better on previous trips.

Post Date: 6/30/2009

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