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Wekiva River Report
(Lower Wekiva River)

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Report By:  darkknight    Date: 12/17/2010 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 20 photos     Map & Directions: View

From Katie's Landing to the mouth of Blackwater Creek

My Report:

Today we kayaked the Lower Wekiva River from Katie’s Landing. This location is closer to us than the Wekiva Springs and my wife likes it better. The water was clear, pristine. I was expecting it to be like this since it has not rained in a while and the Wekiva and Rock Springs are the main sources of the river waters. We put in at 9:30AM under clear skies, some wind and a very nice temperature. A trio of Sandhill cranes and a wild pig did welcome us to Katie’s Landing.

There were not too many birds in the put in, a change from our first trip here when we saw a Glossy Ibis, which later I learned was a rare sighting in that part of the river. We headed North, going with the current, towards the mouth of Black Water Creek. I missed the entrance of the creek the first time and was determined to find it this time. Wifey took some pics of an ibis and an anhinga. The moorhens avoided her at all cost and, to our surprise, the great blue herons we saw were not pics friendly.
Shortly after Wekiva Heaven we saw movement in the East side of the forest. A doe sprinted to the cover of the vegetation and we did not have time to shoot a pic. I was hoping for a buck to be after it but had no such luck.

About an hour into our trip there was some loud noise at the West bank of the river. It was an otter coming in a out of the water in a hurry. I thought that maybe a gator was after it but we saw nothing but the otter and a great blue nearby. At one point the otter swam right to us and wifey took a nice pic. It seemed very curious and surfaced a couple of times to look at us. My lady asked me to follow it after the otter swam up river and I did so for a minute until it was obvious that it was wasted time.

Maybe 45 minutes after that we found our first gator. A pretty good sized animal in a nice pose with its head lifted. I saw an otter swimming toward the area where the gator was sunning. What the heck?; I thought. Do not gators eat otters? Another otter was behind a log on the river and the swimming otter joined it. My wife was so busy shooting pics of the gator that did not see the duo until it was too late. They were like challenging the gator to come after them doing like meerkats, you know…swinging up and down, very interesting and funny. The gator was not interested at all in the crazy otters. We saw three more gators the rest of the trip, one of them a tiny mean looking one.

At one river bend there was something in the bank that we were not able to see but hear. We approached the area of the noise and a red shouldered hawk came out of some dry vegetation stopped for some seconds until my wife had it in her camera lens. Then it flew away leaving my wife in disappointment. Anyways we made it to our destiny, Black Water Creek, 2 hours and 45 minutes after we put in. We turned around right there without exploring it. We had no time to do that.

In our way back three motor boats were coming down river. The first two were coming full speed and we were lucky the one in the front saw us in time to reduce speed and a bend. The third one was coming slow. Those were the only human beings we saw in the whole trip until we made it back to Katie’s Landing. When we reached KL a group that put in at Wekiva Island was coming out too. It was 2:35PM when we took the yak out of the water.

By the way, I just remember something funny. We found the first gator we saw in the same area it was in the morning and stopped to take a few more pics. While I was placing the camera back to the bag my wife started to whistle to the gator and I reacted asking her, or at least I was going to ask, Do you think it is a dog? I never finished the question. The gator reacted to the whistling like we woke it up from a nightmare: moving quickly and sliding back to the water in a hurry swimming under us. As we saw it crossing under the yak my wife started saying “Lets go…it is under us…it is under us”. She was very scared. I think she learned the lesson. Keep the whistling to our pet. Grin

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): ~4
Fees/Costs $: 3.00

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

Sandhill cranes No Comm
Sandhill cranes

Welcome party

Wild pig No Comm
Wild pig

The rest of the welcome party

Anhinga No Comm
Great Blue Heron No Comm
Great Blue Heron
Belted King Fisher No Comm
Belted King Fisher
Otter No Comm
Gator No Comm

First gator of the trip

Closer look No Comm
Closer look
Scenes on the Wekiva No Comm
Scenes on the Wekiva

This is one of the most beautiful places I have paddled

Wekiva River beauty No Comm
Wekiva River beauty
Little gator is out No Comm
Little gator is out
Mean little gator No Comm
Mean little gator
...down it goes No Comm
...down it goes
Solar energy fan No Comm
Solar energy fan

After several days of cold weather this gator was ready to recharge its batteries

More scenes No Comm
More scenes
Reflection No Comm

This is a pic of the reflection of the trees in the water

Log ocupant No Comm
Log ocupant

Another gator enjoys the nice sunny day in the Wekiva River

Top of the log No Comm
Top of the log
On the way out No Comm
On the way out

This is the first gator we saw on the day. It was on the same area on our way out. My wife learned that gators are not dogs and do not react well to whistles.

Fall in the river No Comm
Fall in the river

The fall colors are seing in the Wekiva River.

Post Date: 12/17/2010

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