July Kayaking Trip: Weeki Wachee

Especially in the summer in Florida, you just never know about the weather.  The night before our planned paddle on the Weeki Wachee River, the predictions for rain ran from 30% to 50% in the morning hours.  But overnight, as the time gets closer, the forecast can change:


Now the predictions were for 0% in the morning hours!  Wow!  I had lacked faith the paddle would happen and I had not loaded my kayak the night before.  In the early morning conference call to decide whether or not we would go, I was quite surprised to learn about this new forecast.  So of course I was late.  But it was a pretty drive across the bay:Tampa Bay

Tampa BayAfter I finally arrived at the river, we quickly got on the water as we knew our time would be limited on the river.  The good news was that when I left the house, the last weather update extended the 0% precipitation another hour.

It was a busy day on the water with lots of kayakers and a few motor boats.  With all the people around, we knew it was a friendly place.  🙂

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So we looked around for houses to buy, in case we won the lottery.

Weeki Wachee River Weeki Wachee River

We saw the neighborhood basketball court:
Weeki Wachee River
This looked a great floating dock to have for getting into and out of a kayak on the river.
Weeki Wachee River

Soon we were out of the neighborhood and headed into the beautiful undeveloped part of the river.

Weeki Wachee RiverWeeki Wachee River Weeki Wachee River

Weeki Wachee River
Weeki Wachee River

It didn’t take long before it was time to cool off.

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We saw a bird playing hide and seek:

If I don't move, I'll look like a tree!

If I don’t move, I’ll look like a tree!

You can't see me if I hide behind this bush!

You can’t see me if I hide behind this bush!

A beautiful day on the river, until something showed up early:

Weeki Wachee River

Aahhh, what’s a little rain?

Weeki Wachee River Weeki Wachee River Weeki Wachee River
Weeki Wachee River

Rain, rain, go away.

Rain, rain, go away.

And then it got a little worse:
Weeki Wachee River Weeki Wachee River

We didn’t mind the rain so much but when we heard the thunder in the distance this was cause for concern. We pulled off in a rest area to discuss this. (That’s my thought bubble above my head, wondering if we should continue paddling upstream.)

Weeki Wachee River

We continued for a little while but then we heard more thunder.  So we turned around.

Going downstream we moved much quicker.  And then all of a sudden, a branch reached out and grabbed Carol by the neck!  It wouldn’t let go so she dove for the bottom of the river to escape.  That worked. The branch let go.  And her upside-down kayak let go of her paddle and shoes as they floated away.

We quickly grabbed those and neglected to document the event with the camera.  So we can’t show you exactly which branch it was that grabbed her by the throat.  Just watch out for branches on the west side of the river if you paddle there.

Carol demonstrates how to purge a kayak of water.

Weeki Wachee River

The closer we got to back to Rogers Park, the more thunder we heard, with less time between rumblings.  By the time we were headed up the canal to the boat ramp we could see lightning.  However, this didn’t seem to affect everyone at the park, playing on the beach or cooking out.

Several kayakers were returning at the same time.  I’m not very fond of lightning so I bypasssed the boat ramp and pulled my kayak out to the side of it in my rush to get my boat loaded.  As the storm got closer, I tied down my kayak to the car without climbing up on my metal step-ladder.  It might have been the quickest time I’ve ever taken to tie the boat down.

With the lightning getting closer, all of a sudden all those people in the park realized a storm had arrived and they raced to get their cars loaded up.

I turned on my cell phone and pulled up the weather forecast. Surprise!  It had changed.  It was no longer 0% chance of rain.  Go figure!

Regardless, it was still a fun time on a beautiful river.

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