Wednesday, February 27, 2013

St. Johns River - Day 9

Launching into the canal near the Rt. 50 bridge.
Hoping the trial on the St. Johns River at Palatka was promising enough to resume the trip, on Sunday, Jan. 27th, I asked Jean to take Ibi and me back to the Rt. 50 bridge. I launched from the boat ramp near the west channel under the bridge. After paddling to the end of the cut and its junction with the river, I turned and waved goodbye to Jean, and headed north. It was 8.7 miles to the campsite near Hatbill Park. This paddle produced the greatest number of alligators for a single day, and the largest alligators of the trip. I also encountered two snakes swimming in the river. I’m sure snakes had seen me, but I had not encountered any until now. I saw only two airboats, and incredibly, a jet ski, which was pretty sparse traffic for a weekend day on the river.

First year immature white ibis.
Great Blue Heron
Mature alligator.
This was the second-biggest gator of the day.  If you enlarge the picture, you'll see
he's got some prey in his mouth.  He was huge, and not about to be driven from his
prey or his bank.
If I was to be leery of one of the gators, this would be the one.  Instead of escaping
into the safety of the water, he just turned to face me and flattened himself out to appear
invisible, or so he thought.  But just look at his width.  This is one big gator.

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