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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lower Wekiva River

It has been a while since the last time we went kayaking two days in a row and we had no plans to do that today. I woke up, drove my daughter to school for a rehearsal and, back home my wife tells me she had a proposal. Oh I am so easy. She did not finished telling me "Let us go kayaking" when everything was ready. Anyways the yak was still in top of our minivan. So to Katie's Landing, 35 minutes from home, we went.

Put in/take out: Katie's Landing is located at Wekiva Park Drive at Sanford, FL. Take exit 101C of I-4 and go west. Wekiva Park Drive is just before the bridge over the Wekiva River. Turn right and you will find Katie's Landing a little more than a mile ahead to your left. It is an honor system. Put your $3.00 in an evelope from the pay station, deposit the envelope, and hang the receipt in your rear view mirror. Drive to the river, well, not to the river, but to the area near the river where you can drop your yak or canoe and go back to park in one of the designated spots. Did I leave something out? Ahh...Yes I did. Enjoy the river. Does not get any easier than this.

Red Bellied Woodpecker
We had the yak in the river at 10:00 AM and started paddling near the put in area. One thing I have to tell you is that if you loose track of time you can be just there for more than an hour. It has so much wildlife that it will blow your mind. Today we just spent 40 minutes there. We saw a sandhill crane nesting and my wife/photographer took several pics of it. We also saw ibis, several red shouldered hawks flying, red bellied woodpeckers, a blue heron, moorhen, a black crowned night heron, a strork, vultures, and anhingas. All these in just that small area. We have seen glossy ibis there but not today. We also saw an eagle on our previous trip but there was no eagle today, at least not there.

We continued our trip going north with the current. Passed two fishermen in yaks and saw a third kayaker going north too. Overheard one gentleman fishing from a canoe complaining to his partner that he did not like to fish there on Saturdays...Too many people in the river. We said hello and put some salt in the wound saying..."Too many people here today...huh?"  Anyways we continued and passed Wekiva Haven, where we had seen deers before but not today.

Big Gator
Do not get me wrong; it was not a bad day at all but there was a negative. Motor boats were by the dozen. I lost count how many passed us up and down river. Even with the boats we saw many gators, all possible sizes. There was a bend where my wife spotted one huge gator and when we got closer there was another one. If I am not wrong we saw two big gators on one of our previous trips. Maybe they are the same ones. Who knows. Well, both of them left in a hurry when sensed us, which scared my brave partner a bit. A few minutes later a motor boat went by us going north. Looking ahead I saw a big gator in the east bank. Wifey tried a long distance pic because we knew the boat was going to scare the gator and it did. Slid of the bank but stayed close to it in such a way you could see half of his body. Pretty impressive dude.

Huge Gator

Nesting Sandhill Crane
Started our paddling back to Katie's at 1:00 PM. Had one or two pics stops and made it back to the now take out at 3:15PM. It was tough today because the wind and the motor boats but the Wekiva River is always a good place to be. We always see many wildlife there and looking back we only missed pics of the black crowned heron and the red shouldered hawks. Have pics of everything else we saw. The pic of the nesting sandhill crane is so nice. Also have a special pic of something we saw on our way here. Want to know what it is? Take a look at the last pic of the story.

Here are more pics of what we saw and at the end rhere is a link for more pics of this and previous trips. Hope you like the pics.


Little Blue Heron


Snowy Egret

Little Blue Heron - Inmature


Balance Act

This November Dinner

Tri Colored Heron

Great Egret

Little Gator

Those horrible eyes!!!!!

Gator sunning in a log

Great Blue Heron

Belted Kingfisher




Bald Eagle seen on our way to Wekiva River
Here is the link for more pics: Lower Wekiva River Slideshow
See you soon...

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