Cedar Key Trip Report


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Jerry Lester | VCKC
Published Wednesday, March 05, 2008

DATE: March 5, 2008

NUMBER OF PADDLERS:

Canoes-1 with single paddler (Turned back because of high wind and choppy water)
Single rental kayaks-18 boats
Tandem rental kayaks-3 boats
PBOs-6 in 5 boats
No shows-2 rental boats
Late cancels-2 rental kayaks
Late cancels- 2 private boat owners

The outfitters were paid for all no shows, as this was our commitment.

TRAVEL TIME: Under 2 hours and about 90 miles from Mulberry Recreation Center, arriving at the parking lot on Cedar Key at 9:30 am.

TRIP LENGTH:

After launching and milling about at the put-in, we got underway to Atsena Otie Key at 10 am. We paddled SW and around the channel marker to make a better approach to the landing point at the Visitor's Trail, this route in consideration of the strong NW winds. We landed on Atsena Key at the Visitor's Trail at 10:30 am. After visiting the cemetery, we departed for the eastern tip of Atsena Otie at 11:30, arriving at the second landing point at 11:45. We departed the second stop at 12 noon, and arrived back at the put-in about 12:30. We loaded our gear and headed for the restaurant at 1 pm. Total time paddling was about 1 hr. and 15 min. Total time from put-in to take-out was 2½ hours.



BOAT RENTALS:

Matt Clemons of Aardvark Kayak Company and Brack Barker of Wild Florida Adventures were the outfitters. Their boats were in good shape and they did a good job of conducting the trip.

WEATHER CONDITIONS:

The weather forecast was for a high of 65° and SW winds of 6-8 mph. Unfortunately, the temperature didn't reach 60° and the wind was SW 10-15 mph, making for choppy water and a somewhat wet, chilly paddle to and from Atsena Otie Key.

THE RIVER/TERRAIN/SCENERY:

Cedar Key is a quaint place. It is always interesting to visit. The paddle to Atsena Key is normally easy and pleasant, lasting less than 30 minutes. In the past, the first landing spot has been on the east end of the key at a small, white-sand beach, which is a very pretty spot. From there, the tour has proceeded to the Visitor's Trail at the pier, where we have visited the cemetery. Departing the Visitor's Trail, we have paddled West and then South around the south side of the key and then into creeks that took us back to the first landing point. Due to the strong NW winds on this paddle, the outfitters wisely judged that the paddle should be directly to the Visitor's Trail and that the segment around the west end of the key should be avoided. So, we paddled from the Visitor's Trail directly to the east end of the key, which put the wind to our backs. From there, we paddled back to the put-in. This altered plan shortened the actual paddling time considerable, of which I approved, as the conditions were not favorable for the longer paddle.

WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS:

Some saw Dolphin. Little, other than that.

GROUP ENJOYMENT AND DIFFICULTY:

The participants that I talked to had taken the adversity of the weather well and one said he liked the challenge of the elements. I heard no complaining—except a little about the restaurant service.

LUNCH STOP/RESTAURANT:

Service at the restaurant, Frog's Landing, was poor. There was only one waitress for our party of 30 people. Beer was slow to come and lunch came before the 2nd beer. Then, it took forever to get a check. Overall, a 2-hour lunch. The food was pretty good, thankfully. The restaurant is a short walk from the parking lot at the put-in. Our experience at this restaurant has been better in the past.

OTHER COMMENTS:

The bay between Cedar Key and Atsena Otie Key was choppy, with small white caps owing to the 10-15 mph winds. Our sit-on tandem kayak had water 'geysering' out of the drain holes due to the choppy conditions. The seat wells filled with water making for a wet, cold time. Paddling was difficult due to the wind and chop.



Beckye Lester huddled against the wind at the first landing at the Visitor's Trail and the kayaks on beach there. Note small white caps.

SUBMITTED BY:

Jerry Lester

Last update Friday, April 11, 2008



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