A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation and went down to Florida for a few days. I made sure I packed my camera so I could snap some shots of warm weather… just in case spring doesn’t make it to the north east this year!
It’s summertime in Florida and Hurricane Season is just starting to ramp up! We’ve already had one Tropical Storm come through a few weeks ago, but there are currently several weather systems brewing out in the Atlantic Ocean. This picture, from last night (Aug. 9, 2012) shows what they call a Tropical Wave, I’ve never heard the term before now. It is capable of kicking up large, lightening and wind packed storms in a hurry.
Photo taken with my LG Esteem Android phone.
Monday July 23, 2012 at 5:30am I awoke with the idea of getting a little early morning kayaking in. Those hours just before and after sunrise are some of my favorite times to paddle. Although they sky was a bit overcast I was confident that there would be no adverse weather until early afternoon. I prepared a little snack and some water, placed my camera, binoculars and my phone in my water tight box and went outside to prep my kayak.
About 10 months ago I built a kayak trailer out of PVC tubing for my bike, it doubles as a stand when the ‘yak is not in use. I secured the boat, hitched it to my bike and loaded my paddle, cooler, water tight box and life jacket and started to think about where I’d paddle to and how long I’d stay out… both of which depended on the wind and tide since the river I’d be paddling, the Halifax, is a tidal river so it’s direction of flow is at the mercy of the ocean.
I got to my put-in at The Wilbur Boathouse right at sunrise and noticed the tide was out…. way out! Meaning that a southerly exit from Wilbur Bay was near impossible, without a little portaging. So I decided to exit to the north, through the boat channel and head towards the Port Orange Causeway Park. Once I entered the river I immediately noticed that the tide had turned and was headed back in, pushing the river north, the direction I was headed… and that the wind was also blowing to the north. This was making my trip out easy enough, but my return trip would be a bit more challenging. As the wind speed began to increase, I decided it would be in my best interest to turn and start paddling into the wind and tide, so that way when I got tired I would be south of my entrance to the bay and I could allow the wind and tide to push me back.
As soon I turned I noticed something swimming very close to the shore, I figured it was just a catfish that had gotten into the shallows and was working his way out… as I watched it dawned on me that this was no catfish, it was too big and too gray. As a list of fish went through my head I came to the only conclusion… shark. My thoughts were confirmed as the shark turned and headed right towards me and then to my surprise… swam right up to me. My kayak was pointed west towards the shore and the shark came north and didn’t stop until it was directly beside my port side (left)… actually between the tip of my paddle and the boat, and I was paddling so it’s dorsal fin came less than 3 inches from my hand. It was about 3-4 feet in length, most likely a Nurse Shark.
I was completely in awe. This is the first shark I have ever seen in the wild, and I’ll admit… I was giddy. To be that close to such a creature made me remember why I love to kayak! So, I turned away from the shark and gave it some breathing room, and then kept an eye out for it to appear again. The above photo was taken just a few minutes after that first encounter. As I watched and followed the shark, I could hear the occasional exhale of a nearby Dolphin… maybe it was sticking around just in case.
Between the wind and the current, it was difficult to hold position so I had to keep on the move. As I meandered through the water I heard a large splash come from behind… I quickly turned and realized I had just missed the shark jumping in to the air. It must have found an ideal feeding spot, as it became very active and would dip out of sight for minutes at a time. Suddenly, about 10 feet off to my right the shark resurfaced and quickly dove, a few seconds later… THUMP! My yak was struck from beneath… I probably should have been concerned, but I just chuckled and moved away. Since I didn’t seem to be getting circled or charged at by the shark I felt I must have just been in the way.
A large boat had just gone by and it’s wake was just hitting my section of the river as the shark continued to search the riverbed. I caught the above video just before the shark started to move north again, the wind was picking up and the temperature was rising so I decided it was time to head back home. Not a particularly long kayak trip… but one I’ll never forget.
How time flies! It seems like just a couple of days have gone by since my last post, but now I realize it’s been weeks!!! I’ve been working the night shift at the new job (by choice) and it makes the days go by too quickly. I haven’t had a chance to get out and take any new photos, and I’m stockpiling cash for a new camera.
I did spend a few days working at the NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway last week.. it was hot, but fun. I used my camera phone to snap this panoramic view of the raceway…
… and on Saturday night I shot this video of a B-52 bomber doing a flyover during the pre-race.[youtube http://youtu.be/ik5YtmZya58]
From this point of view the B-52 looks like it took off from the track itself, but it actually took off from Daytona International Airport which is directly behind the track. I’ll try to keep better track of my days, and not let so much time go by until my next post.
The busy days continue with my new job, but I wanted to post something… and since it’s so nice outside today, at least here in Florida, I though a little Mango would be nice.
On a side note, yesterday I got my 100th follower!!! Thank you to everyone for the follows and likes and I promise as soon as the craziness dies down I’ll have some new photos captured with better equipment!!
I know, I know… bad pun, but how can you stay mad after seeing a picture of a wild piglet? Florida has a healthy population of wild hogs/feral pigs, and either term is correct since they interbreed, making it impossible to tell which have a wild lineage and which have a domestic.
These photos were taken a few years ago while I was out kayaking on the St. Johns River near DeBary Fl. This same day, I believe it was Thanksgiving 2009, I saw these boar, some cows and turkeys all along the waters edge…. what a great dinner that would have made!
Sometimes I like to go down to Edgewater, Fl and kayak in the Indian River. On on of my kayak trips I got there early, and since the Indian River is tidal, the water levels fluctuate with the tides. This particular morning a sand bar had formed in the middle of the river and a Pelican and some seagulls decided to take a break on it.
The tidal rivers around here are great for local fishermen and restaurants to catch some crabs. Here is a crab pot I passed by while I was out exploring the mangroves.
Probably for the next few weeks, my posts may be sporadic. I just started a new job, that will help fund my need for a new camera and some lenses. So, I’ll be trying to pick up as many hours as I can, but I’ll try to keep a photo a day when I can, they just won’t be recent until I get a break. Thanks to everyone who follows me and like my photos… I can’t wait to start rolling in new photos for you guys shortly!
The Double-crested Cormorant is a common sight in and around the waters of Florida. It commonly, at least as far as I can tell, is mistaken as an Anhinga (aka: water turkey or snake bird). The main difference being the Cormorant has a larger “duck-like” head and also sits higher in the water. An Anhinga sometimes can barely keep it’s narrow, needle-like head and neck out of the water, hence the name snake bird.
On one of my trips along the Silver River I had a Cormorant follow me for about a mile or so. He would fly right over my head, swim right up to the side of my kayak and then dive and cross under me. At one point, he was close enough to touch. Being that the Silver River is so clearthe made for some great photos.