Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Full Moon Celebration

Manatee Springs State Park Site #29
Chiefland, Florida

The day didn't start out as much of a celebration since we had computer sort of work to do.  I was working on where we will be going tomorrow.  We had intended to go to the Suwannee River State Park but wanted to stay through the week-end and unlike Manatee, Suwannee allows all their sites to be reserved through the hated Reserve America.  They save none back as walk ins.  So we thought we'd just go there for Sunday through Thursday and move on.  But after the time in Cedar Key, I've decided to skip Suwannee all together and go down to the county park for a few days.   Took a while to figure all this out.  And then I wanted to get yesterday's blog published but with the upload problems in blogger that took a ridiculous number of hours.

David is doing the health insurance research.  Our previous employer, the University of Virginia, graciously permitted us to continue our current health coverage at the economical rate of $872 a month so the push is on to find SIGNIFICANTLY less expensive coverage.  

Since tonight was the full moon, I wanted to go for a moonlight paddle so after working most of the day, we set off from the nice dock next to the springs about 90 minutes before sun set.  If we hadn’t had these chores to do, we would have made it a much longer pre paddle but life is what it is. 

The park makes putting in a kayak easier than many other parks we’ve been to and I’m sorry neither of us thought to take a photo of the set up while we were putting in.   They have a drop off point that you can drive to that is mere yards away from the put in.   Although you can’t kayak up into the circular spring head, the put in is just below that area and is at the head of the quarter mile canal out into the Suwannee

The reflections in the dark water made it difficult to tell down from up at times.

We paddled down the canal and rounded the corner onto the Suwannee.

The Suwannee is just as lazy a river from a kayak as it looks from a dock.  Paddling up stream was no problem at all and we only saw one power boat the whole 2.5 hours we were out.

In addition to the usual vultures and egrets on the river,  we saw the eyes of one alligator skulking along the shore.  This one  lone duck paddled happily along as twilight approached.

As you can see, this is a wide river.

 Because we had the river to ourselves we were able to move back and forth across it with ease and had no trouble paddling up stream.

As we turned around to float back down and watch the sun set and the moon rise, we tried to get a David's arm length photo of ourselves on our Full Moon Celebration Kayak.  Not toooo bad.

As we floated and paddled down stream David saw this dock on the bank and it reminded him of the descriptions of the docks in Huckleberry Finn.   There were a few docks on the side of the river opposite the park but no houses to be seen.  It felt very remote and wild in the dark as the moon began to rise.

Because of the trees and our low position on the river we only saw a partial sunset but it was lovely just the same.

It was dark for just a little bit and then the full moon began to rise.

Our photographs of the moon didn't turn out very well but these are the two best.  As with last night, the moon was much much larger than our cameras could capture.  It was a fabulous experience sitting on the slow moving river as it carried us leisurely back to the park dock while the moon rose above us.

For quite some time after we were floating back at twilight and after moon rise there were a number of fish both large and small jumping out of the water.  We had read that mullet often do multiple jumps as though performing in a circus going through rings and also that big Sturgeon were in the river and that when they jump the splash is really huge.  I'd seen one giant fountain of a splash that must have been a sturgeon off the dock the day we arrived.  But tonight a fish over 3' jumped within 6 feet of our boats as we sat enjoying the moonrise.  I would have dropped my camera if I'd had it out.  Sorry no picture but it really was at least THIS big.

Well here, if you can't see how big in the dark, I'll leave you with the flash version David provided of my honestly true fish tale.  He was there, saw it too and he's a very sober and truthful witness as you all know.

This was a great way to mark the full moon.  We found out that the park has planned a similar paddle for Saturday night.  But I imagine that will have a quite a few takers and this was a wonderful experience out on this very fine  river all alone with the eyes of the gator and some BIG fish.  :-)

1 comment:

  1. Great post and paddle. I don't think I am ready to be out on a river in the dark...need a little more paddling experience. But I imagine it was very nice.

    We are just getting started with this kayaking thing and your blog is giving us a lot of great ideas. Keep having fun and taking us along.

    Safe Travels and Happy Trails.......


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