It was another beautiful morning over looking the Atlantic.
The dark clouds gather at sunrise but the rains are not supposed to arrive until this evening.
I’ve shown pictures of our lovely front beach garden with its red coralbean flowers before but today David got a picture of our frequent beach bunny. Isn’t she cute? She’s out there most mornings eating who knows what since it’s mostly sand.
Today we head back to Bulow Creek Plantation to put our kayaks in the creek. We had thought we might be able to see the lovely plantation lane in first light but the park doesn’t open until 9am. So we won’t get on the water as early as we sometimes do.
We arrive to a locked gate and park off to the side. Shortly the man with the key shows up and in we go. First people in the park today.
For those of you who read the previous blog all about the plantation, today we discover a better map that shows the location of the original plantation house. Don’t know how we missed this the first time. We’re putting in just below the “you are here point” where the road seems to go right into the river.
Actually it does go right into the river in the form of the boat ramp. I don’t think boats with motors are allowed to put in here however.
Bulow Creek is a Florida State Designated paddling trail of 6.5 miles. The Bulow Creek Trail is 13 miles long and runs from 3.5 miles upstream from the park put in to 6 miles down stream at High Bridge near the Atlantic. So to do the entire thing you would go right out of the park 3.5 miles and then come back that same 3.5 miles and go on down stream for another 6 miles.
We’re turning left and doing about 3 miles down and then we’ll turn around and come back. My attitude about out and back paddles is the same as out and back land trails. It all looks different coming the other way.
Little blue heron is intent on his breakfast.
And it looks like it’s going to be crab. Looks good to me although I don’t think I’d swallow it whole like he’s going to do.
The grasses along the creek bank are really lovely today.
An osprey has staked out his spot in the grasses.
David turns down a side road. I follow. Looks mysterious.
But it’s a dead end.
Back out on the water things are so placid the reflections are perfect.
Another possible side trail into the grasses also turns out to be a dead end.
Looks like a lot of fun paddling into the grasses that are over your head. Wish it was a winding path through them. I’d love to paddle there.
Back on the creek we spy an osprey nest. When I zoom in there appears to be a youngster in residence.
Mom or Dad flies in so it must be breakfast. Maybe it was mom or dad we saw on the snag when we first got on the river.
I guess the banks lined with grasses don’t make very good spots for fishing. This double crested cormorant is also up in a tree.
In fact he’s out there on the high limb to the left and another osprey is higher up on the right. Tree sharing.
He’s got a catch and appears to have gotten wet doing it.
The birds are just non stop on this paddle. The red winged blackbirds serenade us down the creek. You can just barely see his red wing as he sings his heart out.
A green heron too is up in a bush.
David spots this kingfisher on a palm snag. I find them impossible to get in a picture. They are constantly moving and chattering as they go. But he gets a great shot. Love the feathered head in the close up.
The color on this anhinga is too dark because of shooting up into the sky but I love the pose.
A bit further on we see another in a similar stance. She looks like she’s going to rocket off doesn’t she?
Now that’s high up for a fisherman.
If you like to kayak, this is one beauty of a paddle. No wonder it’s a designated Florida Paddling Trail.
I catch yet another osprey who isn’t fishing at the moment obviously but then he hits the air and down the creek he goes.
I keep saying creek becasue that’s its name but it sure looks like a river to me.
He looks beautiful winging it through the air.
We’ve been seeing numerous great egrets along the water but this is the first one whose breeding colors are noticeable.
The lime green skin in front of his eyes is striking. He’ll also have a more orange bill and the special breeding plumage which cost many great egrets their lives in the early 1900’s as those feathers were in demand for ladies hats.
Sometimes I’m not sure what I’m seeing. Thank goodness for my zoom. With it, I see the second bill but it isn’t until I move further down the creek that it becomes clear what this is.
There are two egrets. One is standing tall and one has his neck collapsed, what I call hunching into his shoulders. You can really see the breeding feathers on the bird on the left. I can’t tell the sexes of egrets so perhaps his lady fair is standing tall on his right. Is that possible Judy?
Do you see 5 birds in this picture?
One of those white birds is this one. He’s neither a snowy nor a great egret. His green legs give him away as an immature little blue heron. He will actually completely change color when he “grows up”.
The little blue flies on down the creek where I get an even better look at him.
Are these three of his grown up relatives on the trunk above him?
I stop paddling whenever I see any birds. Usually even my floating by will cause them to fly but today these 4 don’t seem to see me until I’m right under their tree. And even then, the 3 older little blues only fly over to a tree on the bank.
They regroup for a while on the bank but it’s too much for first one and then a second. Off they go.
On we go beyond the little blue gathering when we come to a road block. I try it and end up on a submerged log. My boat is heavier, longer and higher than David’s.
David decides he’s going to move the log jam. Or at least the part he can see. Looks like we could go around this on the right but that’s where I tried to go and there is a very large tree near the surface. So to go through where David is looks like the best bet. He uses his paddle to push the blocking tree off into the water.
Each time he shoves it forward it gets out of reach and he has to force his kayak forward over the log underneath him.
But he does it and then like the gentleman that he is, he lets the lady go first. She takes his picture as he comes on through.
On we go. According to the information at the put in, we should be able to go six miles from the park on this part of the creek so how many more obstacles can there be? Especially since we only intend to go half that far.
We don’t go very much further on. It appears that the creek is getting narrower when it actually should be getting wider as it gets closer to the ocean. Time for us to turn around. And as we do, we look behind us and see the clouds are mounting.
We get back out to the wide creek and the clouds are now ahead. They are massing but not too dark.
Not too dark for a while but we have over 2 miles to go and we’re into serious paddling.
At this point I take my last picture. The clouds are too dark.
We hit the dock, get the kayaks up on the car and are just driving away when the rain drops start. In seconds it seems, the skies open up. The drive home is through a duluge. We have to slow down to a crawl just to see where we are going. The streets are flooding.
We have a river outside the rig when we get back. Of course we have to walk through it to get into the house and once inside, it is through the door looking out that I take this picture. Seems there should be some wading birds here looking for fish. Our mat is under inches of water.
We have to change our clothes from the skin out the rain was so strong. Looking out at the ocean, it’s a total white out. It continues raining. Thank goodness we are in a sandy lot where the water will soak in and drain our lake by morning we hope.
Great paddle and perfect timing to be in the car when it starts to rain. We wouldn’t have gotten nearly so wet if the gate number pad weren’t so far away from where the vehicles both Big Rig and Car cannot reach it without hitting the protective pole. So in this case you have to get out in the pouring rain to punch in the numbers. Bad plan Gamble Rogers. Fabulous paddle Bulow Creek!