Today I FINALLY got the opportunity to take my kayak out on the local river, the Withlacoochee. It was a fine day and the river was in good shape. This is not a river with rapids and such, but a southern, slow moving river.
As you can see, the water is calm and it was easy to paddle upstream against the mild current. My plan was to paddle upstream until I got tired, then turn around and paddle and drift back down.
This is a view downstream. In this area, the river is the boundary between Citrus and Marion counties. Citrus County has allowed building to the river, which is on the left looking downstream. The Marion county side is really wild and there are all kinds of animals that can sometime be seen there.
Here you can see a few of the thousands of cypress trees. You can also see indication of river levels. There is a level just about two feet above the water which, I think, marks the normal, long term, normal level. Then you can see the white area of the trunk and another high water line about 4 feet higher. In the 31 years we have been in Citrus County, we have seen the river at flood level and in drought.
So, I was having a nice time and I noticed that I could get quite close to turtles and birds, but only if I kept moving. Once I stopped and grabbed the camera, they were gone! Off in the distance, upstream, I could hear the roar of an airboat. They use airplane engines or sometime modified auto engines, but run with open exhausts and the noise is awesome.
When this one came around the curve, the decibels went up dramatically. My little kayak was shaking as it passed nearby.
High quality ear muffs are a real necessity for those riding on such a craft. I have been on several and I am amazed at the power, but also amazed at the noise level.
I knew that I would not see much going further upstream as the passing of the airboat would scare anything away.
I mentioned earlier, my plan was to paddle upstream until I got tired, assuming that my arms would be the problem. It was not so. In Xpu-Ha, Mexico, I never spent so much time in the kayak. miscalculations in the surf would often dump me out. So on this quiet river, it was my back side that gave out. It was quite a surprise as I am well padded.
This was such a welcome sight, the boat ramp where I put in. Now that I’ve done it once, it will be easier to get out more often, perhaps the Rainbow River the next time.