I do feel just a bit guilty. As the northern part of the country is suffering through a blizzard, we have 80 degree weather here in Florida on Christmas Day. It was actually a bit too hot for my tastes.
We got up early to see what Santa had left under the tree. Since my Christmas present was parked out in the yard, we had planned to scale back. That didn’t stop the Wright family from on orgy of unwrapping. They enjoy unwrapping presents, even if it’s little silly things. It was fun.
About mid-day Amy and I went up to the D. J. Willcox wildlife area just north of her house. We hiked a couple of miles through scrub pine, but really didn’t see much wildlife. I had lugged my big Nikon out along with a monopod, so to not get any return for that effort was a disappointment.
I decided that a cooler activity was warranted, so upon returning from our hike I took Amy’s kayak out into the river. I had the little Flip Mino in a dry bag around my neck and just left it running. Good thing, because, I encountered lots of wildlife on this paddling trip.
Since the wind had died down I decided to paddle across the river to one of the spoil islands about a mile away. Even without the wind there were large swells that made paddling difficult. As I approached the island I saw lots of splashing just outside of the little protected cove. I had paddled into a family of dolphins. I tried to stay with them as best I could, but they could swim much faster than I could paddle, so I was soon left behind.
I rounded the island and encountered two more kayaker who had pulled up on the beach for a break. On the south end of the island a woman was working around a campsite with several tents. I decided this island was a bit too crowded for my tastes and decided to paddle south to the next one.
As I paddled I noticed that there wasn’t that much boat traffic out. Usually on Christmas Day there are lots of people out on the Intracoastal Waterway showing off shiny new boats or trying out new fishing gear they got for Christmas. I don’t know if it’s the economy or what.
I made it to the south island and startled a couple of herons and ibis on the north end. As I paddled around the east side I saw chairs and tents set up, and knew this place would be occupied, too. Sure enough, and couple of boats and about four tents were set up on the south side of this island. These guys were gearing up for a big island party this evening.
The main boating channel here is a bit narrower than across from Amy’s. I always wait at one of the channel markers to make sure no big boat is going to cruise through on top of me, then paddle across as fast as I can, kind of like crossing a busy street. Fortunately the Indian River is a couple of miles wide at this point, so there is plenty of safe paddling once you get out of the actual Intracoastal Waterway channel.
I figured it was time to head on back home, so I paddled along the west side of the river toward Amy’s. The tide was starting to come in, so it was slow going. At one point a large sea turtle poked its head up just a couple of yards from my bow.
Safely back at home I pulled out the camera to see what I had gotten. I was able to capture some of the dolphin encounter, but most of the time the video wasn’t running, for whatever reason. Once again, the Flip Mino let me down. Anyway, I did manage to put together a bit of the video and upload it to You Tube. If you want to skip the paddling part, you can skip to the end to see the dolphins.