Kayakkev

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Man survives gator attack crushed by falling tree

In Kayak Trips, Kayaking, Spring Run on August 29, 2010 at 11:37 am

A couple of weeks ago I went out with a local outfitter (Darry Jackson of Bill Jacksons) to scope out  a little known spring along the Chaz River.  I fell in love with this paddle!!!   There is a house on this spring that I can only describe as a $20 million dollar fishing shack.

Well a week or so later… a friend who is new to paddling wanted to go check it out.  So we took off work on a thursday and a friend of Scotts came along.  When I asked if he ever paddled, I was told he did a lot of canoeing.  Knowing I can get anyone back in thier yaks if something happens, I felt okay about this trip.  After all, weekday paddle means little to no boat traffic  and the Chaz is a slow moving river. 

 My only concern is that it is a 10 mile plus paddle  and can these guys make it, so I took a tow rope just in case.

We arrived at the launch at 8am, and I put Scott in my Atlantis Titan which he has paddled before, his friend Josh in my Manitou 14, and I took my recently finished Spring Run. 

Once the yaks were loaded with water, snacks, and assorted stuff one may want, we hit the water.  I suggested that we hit the new spring first, and then if everyone had energy, we would go play in the more well known springs.  So off we went.  I tried showing Josh how to use his paddle and get him to quit using canoe strokes,

 but old habits are hard to break as I am sure we all know.

Along the way to Crawford Creek (the turn off for the spring) we managed to see lots of wildlife.  A Bald Eagle flew over us and landed in a tree close by

A gator was swimming across the river when we came along beside him ( a good 35-40 yards away, and it turned and swam with us.  When the guys got nervous I explained he was just currious and would leave soon which he turn again and headed off to the other side of the river

And of course the usual water fowl.  Egrets, Comorrants, Herons

Once you leave the park, you see a few houses on the water.  Some are fixer uppers

And some showing off some Southern Pride

And even some that floated

After about going 3 miles downstream, we turned on to “Crawford Creek” which is a river unto itself.  Very wide with houses for about the first mile.

It does not take long till you are secluded with the Wildlife again

The creek narrows quite a bit and has a lot of Old Growth foliage which is always unusual

and pretty flowers….

Now both times in this area someone has said that thier butt was getting cold, and when you look down you see crystal clear water about 6 feet deep.  It is wild that you can feel the water temp of 88 degrees turn so quickly from the springs to 72 degrees.

and before long (about 2 miles from where you turned on to the creek) you arrive

BEETEE JAY SPRINGS!!!!!!  And a fishing shack to rival ALL fishing shacks

The actual spring is right below the walkway which leads to a round house

At that point is where you turn around and head back

On the way back, the boys decided they wanted to stop and swim in the cold water.  And as they screamed from the cold water and the fact that I really dont like being in the water, I decided to sit in my yak and watch a really cool looking spider make a web right over my yak.  This spider was small and his body and tips of his legs were black, but the rest of his legs were bright red.  So once the guys lips turned blue, they decided to climb back in and paddle home.  I knew Josh was getting tired because he was not as talkative as he had been all morning.

So once we got past the houses we past coming in, the shore line was tall reed grass.  I was staying back with Josh as Scott was up ahead.  So I paddled up next to Scott while we waited on Josh to catch up.  Now here I am with my paddle resting at the front of my combing as I am slouching back resting and BSing with Scott when I see his yak go straight up with a long 8-9 inch high wave striking out from under him both sides.  As the wave is hitting my boat I scream GAAA… when I feel a very strong thump strike the bottom of my kayak, and find myself upside down in the water. Knowing that we just spooked a VERY LARGE gator.  I was lucky to of had time to grab my paddle, but no time to sit upright for a brace, so I figured I would just roll back up… hahahaha the water was only about 2 1/2 foot deep and I find my head, shoulders and upper back laying on a hard bottom.  After trying 3 times to hip snap my yak back in place and realising one cannot do this while their upper body is laying on the ground, I just popped my skirt and came up for air.  What the hell, if he didn’t bite me by then I felt somewhat safe.  So as I am standing in the water laughing and rolling my yak back over the guys asked how I was going to get back into my kayak.  HAhahahaha, that is when I realised I was the only one that knew how to do an assisted rescue.  So I got Josh to hold my yak while I stepped back into it and started pumping the water out.  As we are laughing and screaming about how scarey that really was, Scott asked me why I didn’t empty the water out of my boat while I was still out of it instead of pumping it?  I quickly informed him that even though I was not worried about the gator we spooked being there, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t come back pissed, and the fact that we were only a couple of feet from the reed line where gators are known to hang out plus where there are big ones there are little ones… I wanted the HELL OUTA THAT WATER!!!!  So needless to say on our way back up the Chaz, we pretty much stayed in the middle of the river.  But I can now say I have been swimming with a gator. LOL

As we are headed back up stream and discussing how tired everyone was and if we wanted to go back the the launch and grab a bite to eat or go play at one of the more popular spring known as “Maggies” or the “Crack”.  We are about 70 yards from the shore line on a flat water river that has no boat traffic, and no one is around when we hear a loud bang that sounded like a gun shot and then lots of cracking and right beside us a 60 foot tree just fell over.  We all just looked at one another and decided that it was time to head home.  I am not sure if we were the luckest people on the face of the earth, or if we just used all of our luck up…

Life Lately

In Boobie, Expedition Single, Guillemot L, kayak, Redfish King, Spring Run, Wood Kayak on August 12, 2010 at 3:48 am

8/28/10  Okay, I will admitt that I have been working but I have also been paddling my new yak (Spring Run) as much as I can and have not worked on the new boat.  But I sure do love how the SR handles!!!  I just can’t seem to get enough of it, even the gator attack didn’t slow me down. LOL

Well sorry to say that I have not moved much with the Boobie.  I just got home tonight from giving a presentation to one of the local Woodworker Clubs ( The Florida Westcoast Woodworkers Club ) on how to build strippers.  HSN has had me working 12 hours a day 7 days a week for the last 6 weeks, and I was just hired by a new company to do what I do… Construction!!!  After 2 1/2 years of looking I finally found a job that is suited for me.  We have also been doing our fair share of camping this summer with one more trip out before I start my new job.

One of the things I have been emailed about lately is pictures of my yaks.  I did not realise that not everyone knew what to look for when searching my posts.  So here I will post the pics with the names, and if you want to see how I built them you can go on to that post

My 1st Expedition Single

My 2nd Guillemot L another Nick Schade yak from CLC

My 3rd Redfish King

My 4th Redfish Spring Run L

With my next being “The Boobie” and I am thinking a canoe after that with a sailboat coming at some point.