Total Pageviews

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lower Wekiva River(From Katie's Landing)

Wekiva River manatees

Oasis of The Seas (at Cozumel, Mexico)
Hello there. This is my first kayaking trip in two weeks. I was on vacation with my family and while was not in a kayak, was in a boat...the boat in the pic...a bigger boat...way bigger than my kayak. Today, Friday August 19th, went to one of my favorite places: The Lower Wekiva River from Katie's Landing. It is close from home and had plans for a short solo paddle. My In Laws are visiting and my wife did not come with me so today paid a high price for not being with her. Did something to the camera settings my wife has on it and most of the pics I took ended up in the recycle bin, if you know what I mean. That almost ruined my day. Lost about 75% of the pics.  Anyways...lesson learned. But it was a great paddle, as usual, on the Wekiva River. For the first time in so many trips to this river, saw manatees. I have read reports about the sea cows being there but had never personally seen it. Today I did. The details to come later.


Put In /  Take Out: My Put In and Take Out for this paddle is, was, and will always be Katie's Landing. Click on this link, Katie's Landing, for more information about it. The road that is referenced there, the one just before the bridge if you are traveling East to West on SR46, is Wekiva Park Dr.


Great Egret
I was in the water by 9:40AM. Did not have any plans regarding how far to go down river. Was going to paddle until noon and then come back to the put in. Spent a few minutes in the area in front of the put in. Usually there are lots of birds there and you can always see a gator but not this time. An anhinga and an osprey were my "Welcome Back to Kayaking" party. At 10AM started to paddle/float down river. A Great Egret came out of the vegetation in a hurry as I paddled by and flew out of sight. Other than that there were turkeys and Ibis in the house's yards in this part of the river. After maybe half a mile down river there are no more houses and it is just nature.

Wekiva River

Two manatees swim by on the Wekiva River
There is a tiny island down river. There I saw the first gator of the day. It was a small one and it was sunning. A ray of sunlight was coming thru the trees and the gator was right under it. It seemed like a spot light was on it. A heck of a pick!!!! If only I did not mess with the camera settings. That was one that ended at the recycle bin but I did not know it at that time so was pretty excited. Heard a Green Heron to my right coming out of the island. Looked for it but it was too deep into the woods. It was then when heard a...pfffffffffffttttttttt or the sound the manatees do when breathing. Did not see the manatee and thought that it was my imagination but on the other hand, I know there have been manatee sightings in the Wekiva River. "I am not that lucky" was my first thought. Was taking a pic of a Great Blue Heron when heard the pfffffffttt again and this time was not my imagination because almost immediately heard a loud splash. When I looked into the direction of the sounds saw a flipper and then a manatee tail coming up. Maybe I am that lucky after all. Not one...not two...but three manatees. Saw two of them first and then the other one after a couple of minutes. Awesome!!!!!

Did You Know That? Power plants are not that bad for manatees.Power plant effluents have played a critical role on manatee protection. Manatees will suffer cold stress and cold related diseases when the ambient water temperatures drops under 68F. As the coastal development in the South east and the South west have pushed manatees to the north the power plant effluents have helped the manatees, which seek the warmth of their effluents. The Brevard County waters also offered many habitat features the manatees need.

Manatee on the Wekiva River

Turtle reflection
As you can see from the pics the water looked like tea. The most of the time clear waters of the springs fed river were not as clear this time. We have had a lot of rain in the area for the last three days and that is the result. Spent several minutes with the manatees paddling up and down the area where they were. Came close a couple of times but were not interested in my green yak. Left them there and kept going down the river. It was spectacular; green, blue and great blue herons, ibis, pileated and red bellied woodpeckers, turtles, gators, cardinals, red shouldered hawks, and incredibly one but me in the river. The only person I saw yesterday during the paddle was on my way up: a gentleman in a kayak. A motor boat was coming down as I took my kayak out at Katie's Landings.

Oooooops. Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time.

Pic friendly gator
The rest of the trip was typical Wekiva River. The gators were coming out of their hiding places but were not in the sun but in the shades. It was so hot that even the gators stayed under cover. Saw many small ones and a couple of big ones. One of them gave me a scare when I placed my yak between it and deep water. Guess where did it go trying to hide from the mean camera shooting at it...Exactly...under my kayak. Know what? I have heard about their natural fear from humans and all that talk. But believe me, that is no consolation when you see one of these big kahunas swimming fast toward you, even if you know they are trying to hide and want nothing to do with you. In case you are asking what did I do, probably broke my own record of how fast, and far, I can paddle in ten seconds. Did not look back to see where it was.

Green Heron

Here are some more pics of this trip...

Wild turkey


Great Blue Heron

Manatee swims in front on the yak

Green Heron. The pink little things in the stick are snail eggs


Pileated Woodpecker

Little Blue Heron

Collision course!!!!

Great Blue Heron is a sunning position

Little Blue Heron

Baby gator

Another baby gator...


Red Bellied Woodpecker

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane chick

Sadly that is all for this trip. Hopefully next time my wife will come with me and the pics will be better. Thanks for reading and hope to see you next week on another Views From Our Kayak.

Scenic Wekiva River


  1. I almost went to Katie's today. But my arms were dead tired, so I went to Haulover Canal instead. Figured the Wekiva would be running fast, making the return paddle a workout. I think I'll head there tommorrow, thanks to you

    What, no kayaking available during port calls on the cruise? I was wondering what caused your kayaking hiatus.

  2. The Wekiva it is not that fast. Found it to be normal. The heat was more a concern than the current.

    Did not kayak during port calls. What they do it is not kayaking for me. The idea of paying from $39 to $59 to follow someone in a kayak it is not my idea of kayaking anymore. Did snorkel in Cozumel...5 stars!!!!!! It was great. Will post a pic on the next report.

    On a sad note, our underwater digital camera stopped working there. Have to send it to Olympus to see if they can fix it.

  3. I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion about power plants and manatees. It's true that the warmer effluent is enticing to manatees when the water starts cooling off, but once they're drawn to the these areas they can potentially be trapped there for the winter. When they want or need to leave, the surrounding waters may have become too frigid for them to venture into without getting cold shock, which can be an issue if there's no good food source or if there's heavy boat traffic and whatnot. Just something to consider.

  4. I understand your opinion. I do not see it that way but thanks for you comment. I will spend some time reading more abut it.

  5. I would like to use the manatee picture for educational display (not published) Thanks, it's terrific.