Weeki Wachee River Trip Report

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Ted | VCKC
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Date: January 22, 2008

Location: Weeki Wachee River

Number of Paddlers: Approximately 72 club members paddled this terrific spring fed river.

Travel Time From Southern Trace Shopping Center: As posted in the pre-trip report. Directions were good and no one that I know of got lost.

Trip Length: 6 1/2 miles or just over 2-1/2 hrs but some club members finished this trip at record-breaking speeds. .

Boat Rentals:

We've used Weeki Wachee Canoe Rental (WWCR) on past trips and they continue to impress us with the quality of their boats. The canoes are in good shape, have molded seats with supplied backrests. The single kayaks are molded plastic sit-on-tops and are very comfortable. Their tandem kayaks are Old Towne Otters, a good all purpose recreational kayak. Rental rates increased over the last paddle and while on the higher end of rental costs, the beauty of the river makes this a must do trip, especially for new members.

Two caveats: One club member, a private boat owner, was told by the outfitter that he could not launch had a folding kayak because they claimed only hard shell boats (canoes and kayaks) was allowed on the protected area of the river. That boat owner returned to Roger's Park and launched there to paddle segments of the river. The other and somewhat minor concern had to do with the shuttle service esp. with the numbers on the trip. The outfitter had two 15 passenger vans that had to make two round trips to accommodate our numbers. The last two groups had to wait about 40 minutes for the vans. The Take-Out at Christian Campgrounds is private property with a locked gate which the outfitter has license to use but private cars cannot get in to park without campground permission which may be something the club could consider for future trips.

Air Temperature and Weather Conditions:

We had near-perfect weather conditions and as normal for this time of year, many removed their light jackets as they arrived at the Put-In.

The River and Terrain:

This is a truly beautiful river. The water clarity is remarkable for perhaps three-quarters of the trip when you notice the brackish influence of the gulf waters. The first half of this all too short trip is also free of riverside homes and gives all the opportunity to witness the wilderness of Florida that is disappearing. The current makes for an effortless paddle and there were only a few spots where obstacles in the water caused any steering type issues. I have to add that despite the numbers on this trip, I never experienced a "crowded feeling" which I partially attribute to the outfitter who staggered the launching of rentals. All members seemed to enjoy the Weeki Wachee and some commented that this was their favorite river.

Wildlife Sightings:

Perhaps the highlight of the trip was the sighting of as many as eight manatees. My wife and I spotted two groups of two and floated mere inches above two in relatively shallow crystal clear waters. It always amazes me how effectively their natural colors and shapes camouflage them so effectively. We also spotted what might have been a hawk or falcon at just above eye level and possibly an osprey at the top of a large tree keeping an eye on us. There were also sightings of turtles basking in the sun and fish.

After Paddle Lunch:

Bayside Inn provided good service and welcomed hot lunch, beverage and great view of area marshlands.

Group Enjoyment and Difficulty Rating:

There were many new club members on this trip and I overheard comments of how great this trip was and how much they enjoyed it. How could you not?! I would continue to recommend this trip to those with basic paddling skills - what a great introduction to Florida Rivers and our club goal to offer rewarding trips to its members. This is certainly a trip to remember for when you have visitors who are looking for a place to explore during their stay.


Last update Thursday, April 10, 2008

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