Tuesday, May 21, 2013
After our Hands Across The Sands event at Shell Mound earlier in the day, I waited around the area to conduct a kayak tour out to Atsena Otie Key. This island is right off the coast at Cedar Key within the Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge, and the one that most people see when strolling along Dock Street and the Pier. Views of the Gulf of Mexico can be spectacular.
I was fortunate to have some last minute customers that flew in from South Carolina to the local air strip in their private plane. So, there was a total of eight paddlers for this kayak tour. The breeze was slight out of the SWW at around 8 mph, and it kept the insects at bay, not to mention a great natural cooling effect.
When planning tours to this island, I try to schedule them to take advantage of the incoming tide so that we may explore the nooks and crannies, and not worry about snagging our kayaks on oyster bars.
And it lets us paddle through the middle of the island among mangrove islets full of red-wing blackbirds and other perching species. The roseate spoonbills have not reappeared as of yet, and they like to roost for the evening on this island when they migrate back into the area.
Once on the island, we visited the cedar mill ruins, the cistern, windmill tower, and historical cemetery. I like to share my knowledge of headstone symbols to my guests, when we visit this 19th century burial spot.
After about two hours of paddling, walking, resting and paddling some more, we headed back in time to witness the beautiful sky colors of the setting sun.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Today for our Hands Across the Sands/shells event, we had a great day on the water, Though our numbers were small, we picked up lots of trash in the estuary of the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Plastic containers (bottles) were the greatest item found, along with glass, aluminum cans, Styrofoam, and other litter. We saw dolphins within minutes of our launch as if they were thanking us ahead of time for helping to clean up part of their habitat. Later on, we observed a bald eagle, and several great egrets. Even the mullet were jumping! Tomorrow, we switch to fresh water at the Ichetucknee Springs/River for a tour.