February 13, 2009

FLORIDA - Wacissa Springs Paddle

After days of dreary skies and constant rain, we arrive at the put-in to be greeted by clearing skies and bright sunshine, what a great day for a paddle! Our welcoming party of Ibis waited patiently in the big cypress next to the launch as we readied the gear and slipped the boats into the clear waters of the Upper Wacissa.

Our new friends Paul & Melanie were first to zoom ahead, sporting two "motors" in their long & fast tandem. They stop slightly ahead as takes time to snap this nice pix of a Limpkin, working the grassmats a few feet from our channel.

Although we've been here several times before, I always marvel at the crystal clear stream. Visions of hula dancers pop to mind as we slip over the glently waving grass below. Their action is somewhat intoxicating, it's like staring into a fire, you just continue to be mesmerized.

A second welcoming party, this time Willets, awaits our arrival at the turnoff to the "Blue Hole", the largest and most prevalent of several springs that pour millions of gallons of fresh water into the River.

This time, I'm the fast one, leading the group into the spring in Kim & I's new Clipper, which I paddle solo today!
John & Dave circle above the deep cavern while Paul and I do a litle exploring along the swamp edges. Melanie got this nice shot of a Barred Owl, I opted for a closer view of the immature Night Heron.

I thought John was going to take over the diving platform there in the center of the spring, but for some reason he decided that the only thing he'd get close with was the camera lens!
The group really wanted to have lunch on the platform , but as we look closer at all those sharp teeth, we decide not to challenge it's present occupant....

Weaving in & out of the small creek trailing southward from the Blue Hole back to the main river channel, I find that the big new Clipper tandem does a nice job paddled solo.

Paul was surprised to find his cousin waiting for us back on the River!
Back on the main River, a couple of Bald eagles soar above, and Paul somehow gets the idea that he can climb right up there with them! It's always a pleasure meeting & making new friends as we travel around the country.......