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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lower Wekiva River - From Katie's Landing

Gator in the Wekiva River
When you live 40 minutes away from a place where you can kayak and have a heck of a day, regardless the season, you are lucky. I consider myself lucky then. Today kayaked the Lower Wekiva River from Katie's Landing. It was one of those things you have to do. My wife told me last night she did not want to wake up early. That means she did not want to go to a place too far. But this morning she had a change of heart and told me she did not want to go kayaking and told me to go alone. I did just that at a place that is close from home and where always there is a lot to see.

Lower Wekiva River
Put In / Take Out: The Put In and take out was Katie's Landing, which is located in Sanford. From I-4 Go West on SR46 and turn right on Wekiva Park Drive. Katie's Landing is about a mile to the left. Cannot miss it. There is a big sign. Once there pay at the station, $3.00 per car, hang the stub in your rear view mirror and drive close to the river, leave your canoe/kayak and go back to park in one of the designated spaces. That is pretty much it. I am forgetting something...Ah...enjoy your day in one of the most beautiful rivers Central Florida has to offer.

Katie's Landing Put In ( from the river)
Today it looked like everybody came to kayak here. There were cars all over the place, an armada of kayaks already in the water, and a whole fleet lined up ready to go out. It is the first time I see so many people  at Katie's but it is also my first Memorial Day Weekend kayak here. A nice lady asked me if I was Jack, someone they were waiting. Later we crossed paths in the river and told me Jack never made it to the put in. I did put in and proceeded to explore the area in across the put in. Spent almost 30 minutes there, which gave time to the fleet and the armada to leave. It caught my attention the large number of little gators I saw. There are always a few gators here and there in front of Katie's but today it was incredible. Every where I went there were small eyes coming out of the water. I was glad they were babies and no big ones. That would have been stressful. As a matter of fact, the gator's activity on the river today was off the charts, at least based on my limited experience.


Green Heron
Some habits are hard to break. Even when my wife did not come today I did what we usually do: Took my sweet time to go down river. With the armada out of sight, and from audio range, had the river for myself. A guy fishing from a  kayak near a small island down river was the only person I found in the water for a while. Since had nobody to talk to it was somehow different. Today paid more attention to the sounds of the forest and the river. It was quite different since sometimes you can go minutes without seeing a form of wildlife but they are there.

My trip downriver was lazy. Did use the paddle to correct every now and then but was more interested on listening and observing. Lots of gators in the water went under on my approach. It seemed like there was a gator at every river bend, some bigger than others. I also heard the characteristic chirp of baby gators, which was really cool. Did not even try to find the little ones. One thing is to not be scared of them and other thing is to disrespect them. Where are babies there is mom, and mama gators are no picnic (at least that is what I have read). I was happy enough to be able to hear them.

Did You Know That?: Young alligators are known as hatchlings and are about 6 to 8 inches at birth. After birth the hatching alligators form groups called "pods" and may stay in the vicinity of the nesting site for several years. The female alligator will stay near her brood until the next mating season and will defend it against predators. The first few years are the most dangerous for the hatchlings since anything that can eat a small alligator will. Snakes, wading birds, osprey, raccoons, large bass, garfish, and even larger alligators will  feed upon the young alligators. Once they reach four feet only the man  is the predator for the alligators. Talk about turning the table!!!!!

Baby alligator

There is a small pool to your left if you are going down river. It is wide enough that the first time we thought it was the mouth of Blackwater Creek. I always explore it because there is something to see all the time. Today it was a gator...and a Limpkin...and aLittle Blue Heron...and a Green Heron...and an Anhinga...and that was it. I was coming out of it and back to the river when another kayaker approached and asked me how long to Blackwater Creek. I told him that maybe one hour. Shortly after that a fleet of twelve kayaks came down the river. I was able to hear them five minutes before having a visual. Paddled a bit up river and when the last one went by me stopped. Kept going down river when was not able to hear them any more.

Wekiva River (from the mouth of Blackwater Creek)
The traffic in the river was heavy. Many motor boats and kayakers coming up and down. A group of about 10 came up river. I saw the other group of twelve in a high ground area taking a break. Kudos to them. I took a break there on my way back to Katie's and it was clean. Did not leave any trash. If any of you is reading this...Thanks folks!!!! That is how you do it!!!! I made it to the mouth of Blackwater Creek, went a little bit more to the North and came back to the creek. Tried to explore it but found a downed tree less than a minute into the trip so decided to turn around at that time.

Here are more pics of what I saw today on the Wekiva River. Did miss a chance to take a pic of an otter and a Tri-Colored Heron. The otter was out of the water on the east bank and the tri-colored flew by me. Had a good look but it was out of range when the camera came on.





Great Blue Heron

Great and Little Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Green Heron

Immature Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron






Prothonotary Warbler

Here is the link to the Photobucket slideshow with all the pics from today's solo trip and past trips pics...SlideShow

Thanks for reading and hope you come back next week for another Views From Our Kayak!!!!!
Wekiva River


  1. Very beautiful pictures and loved reading about the place. Thanks.