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Wakulla River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Day Trip Report
Trip Dates: June 2005
Nearest City: St. Marks, FL, USA
Difficulty: Easy
Submitted by: Rob

Description:

Today I set out with my 3 youngest kids (ages: 2,4,7) on the beautiful Wakulla River. I was paddling an old Boy Scout Camp canoe that should have been retired a long time ago. We launched @ the US Hwy 98 bridge and planned on paddling up river and then returning to this spot. Immediately upon putting in, we saw several people in canoes & kayaks gathering just north of the bridge. Only one thing draws this many people to one spot on such a desolate river: MANATEES! We paddled over to join the mob, when a mother surfaced just below us, gently pushing us away. This was a magnificent creature, so large, yet so gently. She had two deep, white scars and several smaller, gray scars on her back from boat propellers. Then I saw two smaller manatees that appeared to be her young. One was smaller than the other and at times would swim next to the mother a try to nurse. We finally left the manatees and headed north.

I am not sure how much progress we made, but I'm sure we didn't go more than three miles. In this short trip (only 2.5hrs. round-trip) we saw manatees, 3 alligators, numerous fish & birds, and 1 Game Warden). As we got back to the boat landing, I let the kids play in the crystal clear water while I struggled to load the canoe on top of my Suburban. It was as I loaded the canoe, I saw one of the largest leaches I have ever seen, stuck to the bottom of the canoe (this ended swim time for the kids).

The only thing I can say bad about our adventure is: 1) In the rush to see the manatees, I forgot to apply sunscreen and we all got too much sun; 2) The leaches (This is the outdoors though); and 3) As we were about to leave, I heard people on the bridge screaming (I assumed kids joking around). I then saw them throw some powdery substance into the river (this made me mad & disgusted that someone would pollute such a beautiful place). As we pulled out on the road I could now see these "polluters" were all wearing black & sobbing uncontrollably (they had just dumped someone’s ashes into the river). At seeing this, I was a little more understanding, but still disgusted.

Overall this was a great trip and one I will repeat.

Accommodations:

None at the Landing. Most of the land bordering the River is privately owned and posted "NO TRESSPASSING"

Fees:

None

Directions:

Head south from Tallahassee on Woodville Hwy (SR 363) about 15 miles. At US HWY 98, turn right (West) and go approximately 1 mile. You will see T-N-T Canoe Rentals on the left (Southside) of the HWY. The public boat landing is down the same drive as the rental business.


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