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

Henry David Thoreau

A Full Day Includes a Very Fine Time on the Water

Monday December 1, 2014
Fort Clinch State Park
Fernandina Beach, Florida



When I go out for the sunrise this morning most of the color is in the west. Looking over to the east, everything looks gray.



When I get around to the east side and can see the horizon, the sun is really trying to burn a hole in those thick clouds. It’s having some success.



As I watch, it finally manages to rise above it all. It’s a great morning at the beach.





After breakfast we head out for a bike ride to see some sections of the park road we have not seen and to confirm with the ranger where is the best put in to kayak Egans Creek.

The park road is just so lovely.   These pictures do not do it justice.  It’s the “real Florida”.  It’s the Florida I remember from trips here as very young girl to visit my great Aunt Carrie.   Riding on the park road is wonderful.  There is very little traffic.







At the Egans Creek Overlook we find a lot of information about the lighthouse which is not in the park and not on the water anymore. It’s actually in a neighborhood and the only way to take a tour is for $5 with the historical society every 1st and 3rd Wednesday. But it looks lovely at the far side of the Salt Marsh.

We don’t actually get much of look at Egan’s Creek since it turns out to be on the far side of the marsh.







The lighthouse is the oldest documented structure on Amelia Island. It is brick with a stucco exterior. Its 59 granite stairs were hand hewn in New England.  I think I’ve mentioned before that the Historical Society gives a tour at 10am on the 3rd and 5th Wednesdays.  I don’t believe you get to go up and see the lens though.  I’d still love to do the tour but we got here on a Wednesday after the tour, they didn’t do it the day before Thanksgiving and we have to leave this Wednesday.  The stars are not aligning for this obviously.   Next time?







It looks from my zoomed up picture as though it still has a Fresnel lens although the information on it that we find here says the light was electrified in 1933 and automated in 1979. Does it look like a Fresnel to you?  I’m sure Nina will know if she’s reading.







Outside the Ranger Station we see what we think is a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly.   We watch him stay for a very long time inside this flower tube before he flies off.   The ranger has just the information we need so we head back to pack some lunch, get the kayaks on top of the car and set out for our first paddle in months.




We launch into Eagens Creek from the boat ramp at Leaders and Sinkers Bait shop on 14th street.  The tide is coming in and we go with it away from the ocean knowing that we will have to kayak back cup the creek against the tide.  But that’s later.

If this is a creek, I sure wouldn’t want to paddle the Amelia River.




Lots of big boats on this “creek”.   The right side of the creek has waterfront homes and the left has the Salt Marsh.  We are exactly on the other side from where we were just looking out over the marsh.  No wonder we could not see if from where we were.  The marsh hid it.




Inspite of all the houses and boats, we see a fair number of birds today beginning with what we thought was a rookery.  But when we looked closer we saw about 6 ibis and one heron.



Not sure what the heron was doing with these guys but as I watched, he flew off leaving them to populate the tree.





David almost always puts in after I do.  Takes him longer to get his Sh**  ahh stuff together.  So at this point I’m in the lead.  He’ll over take me later but at this sign I decide to take a side channel.  The “creek” is pretty big for the kind of paddling we enjoy most.   So I turn down the left lane.



Good choice.  What a gorgeous day it is.



I see later from his pictures that David was pretty far behind me at first.



But once we reach the dead end, he’s in the lead returning.







On the way back I stop to watch the blackbirds.  The male never sits still so no shots of him.  The female doesn’t have the striking red wing but I think she’s lovely.  Just look at those detailed markings.  She was quite cooperative for a while.





The reflection of the clouds in the water makes me feel like I’m in some sort of wonderland.  It is an amazingly lovely day after so many have been dark, rainy and cold.





Back out on the creek we barely have to paddle at all since the tide is coming in and we are going with it.  Boy is it a blue sky day.






David takes a couple of pictures of this unconcerned pelican and drifts on by.




His is a nice shot!   But you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.   I’m on the other side of “the creek” and head over to say hello.





When I get near, Mr. Pelican starts putting on a show.  I’m thinking maybe he’s in to yoga.






I’ve never before seen a throw your head back pose like this one.




He straightens himself back up and I start to leave but he has one more.



Looks like a nice neck scratch before he makes himself small, probably for a nap.



A little further down I can see the lighthouse.  But what really catches my eyes is a group of Black Crowned Night Herons on the posts in the water just below the lighthouse.  I have never seen a group of them hanging out together.   David gets too close and they fly off before I get there but luckily they merely circle around and return.  There are 6 or 8 of them.




There are 6 of them in this picture and a couple more off to the left.


They all actually look a little bit different but when they shrug up their shoulders and look like little old men, they make me laugh.





Unfortunately like hiking in the Shenandoah National Park where the first part is the easy hike down and at the end you have to climb back up, this nice float down the creek with the tide has to end and we begin paddling back up against the tide. 

We have also been far too relaxed barely paddling and have stayed too long before turning around.  The very common late afternoon winds around water have begun.  Of course they are blowing toward us.   Doesn’t look as rough in this picture as it looked from inside my kayak and as it felt as I was paddling.




If I stop paddling up stream the current immediately sends me back down and I have to regain the ground I’ve lost.  It’s not as bad as we’ve sometimes had since we are near the tide shift and things are slowing down but the wind is really a factor.

So I only take two pictures on the way back.  One when I almost catch up with David who has pulled over for a breather and one of this amazing Great Egret.  He’s got some ruffled feathers there.









David takes this one, I assume from his pull out spot.  I think it’s lovely.




When we get back almost to the take out, the wind dies down and so does the current.  David takes these last shots from the take out to show just how wide this “creek” is as I’m coming in at the end of a wonderful day on the water.  We usually prefer paddles that aren’t quite this urban but the fun birds made it an even better day.




That’s all folks!   Only one more day here in the Fort Clinch Area and we’ll be moving on.  Really glad we finally got on the water after nearly 2 weeks. 




  1. Oh you got some wonderful bird shots! I've never seen that many black crowned night herons together before either. I've seen a small grouping of 3 but that included two juveniles. I bet they have a rookery nearby...

  2. So where are you off to next? Just moving a little down the coast?

  3. Love the pelican poses, looks like a really great day.

  4. Great bird shots, in fact I couldn't't even tell you were in an urban area by the shots you showed. Nothing is better than getting out after a rainy gray spell.

  5. Glad you were finally able to get out and paddle. Raining here now. Love all the beautiful bird shots.

  6. That is definitely a Fresnel lens. Back in the 1930s, lighthouses began to be electrified, getting away from oil based lighting inside the lens. In the 70's the Coast Guard began to automate all the lighthouses with new technology and removing the need for an on site keeper as a cost saving issue.

    The Coast Guard still maintains the many lighthouses still in use as navigational aids with small teams that come out to clean and repair the lights on a regular basis. My son was on one of those teams in Oregon where they took care of a number of lighthouses up and down the Oregon and Washington cost. I think the only manned lighthouse left today is the Boston Light for tradition.

  7. loved all your views from the water. . .just wonderful!

  8. I had to enlarge the picture to see the Sulphur butterfly- she is beautiful! Love the Night herons. I don't think I've ever seen one. The pelican is so cute- they are a lot of fun to watch. Beautiful egret too. You have a great zoom on your camera. I have been frustrated lately with a bunch of out of focus (dog) pictures. Glad you had fun! XXXOOO

  9. You do take the most lovely pictures. Sure enjoy your travels and the wonderful weather. We have snow and ice again.... I know it IS Winter, but oh, oh dear.. I am already cold and tired.... BUT I get such a relief and happiness from Sherry's blog!!!! Thank You, Thank You!!!

  10. As I read this, I felt I was on the paddle with you. Now I'm totally relaxed.

  11. We had heard how nice the Fort Clinch area was and your pictures certainly prove that. What a great paddle! Love the picture of David pulled off to the side. At that point the water looks glassy and he looks so peaceful :)
    The yoga performing Pellican was adorable :) Great pictures!

  12. Well alrighty!!! So glad you were rewarded for your long wait with a beautiful day for a wonderful paddle. Love the Pelican Yoga and collection of Black Crowned Night Herons ;o)) Hope the weather continues to be nice...it's been pretty good here in South Carolina.

  13. I've been thinking over the past year that I'd like to try kayaking, but reading about paddling against the tide and wind may have put some sense into my head. I think I'd rather read about it!

  14. What a beautiful day and great kayak trip! Your photos are terrific -- I felt like I was right there paddling along with you. It's fun to see photos of both you and David in your kayaks -- since we have a tandem, we can't do that. I turn around and take close ups of Eric and he takes photos of the back of my head, haha! Love the black crowned night herons -- as Lisa said, there must be a rookery nearby. I'm with you, the old Florida (the REAL Florida) is just wonderful.

  15. Love that last picture of you! What a nice paddle. That pelican really was putting on a show! Hah! So many birds on the water. What a joy to take it all in...never forget how lucky you are :) And, you got some exercise out if it paddling against the wind.

  16. You really got some fabulous bird pictures. That great egret picture is quite stunning in particular, but all the birds would be pleased to see how well you represent them in this beautiful blog about another wonderful paddle. I do love those blue sky days on the water. Very relaxing, despite paddling against the tide and into the wind.

  17. So fun to see you back in the kayaks. It's been awhile and this looks lovely. Guess that paddling back is good for the arm muscles! LOL!

  18. Such lovely shots! That pelican in particular looks like a real character!

  19. What beautiful pictures! It's been about 3 weeks since our kayak was stolen. We just bought another new one. We're dying to get back into the water. We were just at Crooked River State Park. We didn't kayak as Steve wasn't feeling well. We're not used to that kind of paddling with the tides. It had us a bit concerned as we were told to head out 2 hrs before low tide (seems like it would be high tide?). The current was crazy! I was kind of glad we didn't go. Looking forward to being back on the rivers and lakes. We're at Suwannee right now.

  20. Beautiful photos in a beautiful area. When I visit my brother in Rockledge, Florida, we go kayaking and I love it.

  21. What a wonderful day! Neat sunrise:) Biking and kayaking...sounds perfect to me. Your bird photos are beautiful.

  22. Yup that's definitely a Fresnel lens. Lovely one too. Most of the older Fresnel's were electrified, but kept in service. All that changed was the light source and the way the lens was turned.

  23. Sherry, I laughed when you took the lead...that was fun gliding along with you!

  24. The sunrise burning the hole in the clouds is magical. What a great catch! As is the butterfly in the flower - I doubt anyone else would have seen it. Like Nan, I'm so relaxed after the lovely time on the water. Thanks for doing all the paddling, especially on the way back :-) The pelican was like the comic-relief in a serious movie, just the right dose of silly on an otherwise serene afternoon. Looking forward to seeing where you've landed now.

  25. I really yearn for our 'us' time and get outside somewhere warm. Nice bird pictures, love the Pelican yoga poses :)


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