It was a great day to paddle board on the Wakulla River. The puffy white clouds reflected in the glassy water, so clear you could see the cloud shapes. The only boats we saw were anchored to one side to fish, and we only passed three other kayaks. The beauty of a Tuesday morning! The water was not clear due to lots of rain over the weekend, but the sky was blue and the turtles were sunning!
We spotted an alligator floating in the current before we launched, and we later saw a small one resting in the weeds near the bank. There was a long weed patch that was filled with turtles resting on weeds. Every log was covered in turtles, some stacked up in orderly fashions of small, medium and large, almost like nesting blocks. When we passed, several would jump to the safety of the water, while others were determined not to lose their warm, sunny spots and ignored us completely!
It took us an hour to paddle up river, up current and sometimes into the wind; wow, that was some work, but it was beautiful. The return trip only took about 20 minutes, paddling and floating with the current. A lot easier on the return for sure!
Just as we were nearing our launch spot, we spied a young manatee. I had given up the thought of seeing manatee since the water was so cloudy, but there it was. We were surprised that there was only one manatee since we normally see at least two together. We watched her munching on the long grass and swimming around us. She (or he?) posed for several pictures, then she dove down and disappeared. She was done with us being nosy spectators!
We called her Mary the Manatee after a book our daughter has. It’s a story about a mother manatee and her calf. It’s a great story by Suzanne Tate. She has many other books about marine life and ocean creatures. Another favorite is Tammy Turtle. If you have anyone in your life interested in marine life, check out these books, then get paddling on the river! Hope to see you there!