Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wakulla Beach to Yonder Island

How's this for convenient water access?

Short trip from Wakulla Beach this morning. I got down there at about 10 and while I was gearing up a bald eagle soared by. If you look real close at the photo you can see that there's an island behind my truck. I don't know what it's called yet, but I've got a FB msg in to someone who'll probably know, so for right now I'm calling it Yonder Island. As you can see, the launch at Wakulla Beach is pretty nice. You get off the coastal highway and drive 5 or 6 miles down a long sand road through the forest. Aside from the occasional beer can it's a lovely semi-tropical maritime forest of live oak, palms, pine and other trees. Sections of it are swampy. Most of it is owned by the gubment, so there are few homes or other man made structures. At the end of the road it opens onto the above beach and you pull right up to the water's edge, unload, then park far enough away that a high tide won't wash your car for you (about 50' or so). There was just enough onshore breeze to keep the heat and bugs down and chop up the water slightly, but it was plenty manageable. I didn't really know how far away that island was, but I guessed it couldn't be too far, and I was right. It took about 30 minutes to cross (against wind and incoming tide), and I guessed 1.5 or 2 miles based on that. I got right up next to the island, which is a typical low cord and needle grass sandbar with a few stunted trees on it, and made my way around slowly so I could see what there was to see, which wasn't that much. There was a pair of oystercatchers at one end, lots of hermit crabs, a Southern stingray (stingaree, as Mr. White would say), and random single sea squirts that weren't attached to anything. At other points on the trip I saw a bald eagle, laughing gull, loon, and willets. I was off the water a little after noon. It was a short paddle, but a nice one and a beautiful day to be out there. Cheers.