Monday, October 29, 2012

Moonlight Paddle

Manatee Spring SP
Chiefland, FL.

The park was almost full this weekend again. I thought that by now the attendance would drop off some.  The campers I have gotten a chance to speak with have expressed a great fondness for Manatee Springs SP.  Many of them are repeat campers here.  It is relaxing here.  I have also noticed more over-night campers during the week, most of which leave early the next morning.

Saturday Judy and I received our check-in and check-out list around 9:00 AM. We had five check-outs and five check-ins.  Most of the check-outs were gone by 10:30. Judy and I inspect the sites listed for check-ins to make sure they are ok for the new campers. Judy goes a little overboard on this. Most sites we check are usually ok, but the fire pit may need to be emptied. The fire pit is very important to campers. After we completed our site check we cleaned the comfort station.

I replaced some of the lights on the outside of the Cardinal I noticed had burned-out.  The roadside security light and the amber entry light above the door.  I have determined that an eight foot ladder is going to meet all my ladder needs. The bulbs required were the older automotive types not the halogen. While I was up on the ladder changing the lights Ranger Rye stopped by to drop off a package.  It was a new battery for my Toshiba Satellite laptop. The original no longer held a charge. I ordered it from Amazon and it cost $78.00. A replacement from Toshiba would have cost $149.00.
 Ranger Melissa had stopped by on Friday to ask Judy and I if we would like to go on the scheduled “moonlight paddle” Saturday night that she would be leading. Judy would have no part of it; I said I would be there. She told me she would bring me a kayak. The campers who were participating would be able to rent a canoe from local outfitter who would be at the park. The “paddle” began at 6:30 PM after a short presentation by Ranger Melissa. In all there were about 25 canoes.  I am not so sure that having my first experience in a kayak at 62 with two replaced knees in the dark on the Suwannee River was a smart idea!  I definitely questioned my judgment in the first five minutes after the launch of my kayak into Manatee Springs until I had worked out how to balance the craft in the water. I am thankful that there is no recorded evidence of those first few minutes. By the time we travelled the 300 or so yards to the river I had my technique mastered.  We turned right (north) when we reached the river. We were paddling against the current so it took a little effort.  Ranger Melissa did a great job in leading and giving facts about the river and associated wildlife and plants. As beams of light flashed along the banks of the river from canoes we could see the eyes of alligators. My job, was to be “tail end Charlie” to make sure no one got separated from the group. We returned after an hour and a half or so. Listening to the comments being made I think everyone had a good time. I also had a fun time and learned that I would not be buying me a kayak. Maybe I’ll get a “Sea Eagle” instead. Once back at the fiver I told Judy she made the right decision at least in regards to a “moonlight paddle”.

That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

Next Blog: Thur.


  1. How brave to take your first paddle at night! Not all kayaks are "tippy" so don't let that discourage you. Our Sea Eagle Fast Track kayays are very stable. Glad you had a good time.

  2. A moonlight paddle sounds so cool! We have a Sea Eagle, and really like it. We haven't yet taken it out since we left a month ago :(

  3. I doubt very much that my first trip would have been in the dark with Alligators:) Does sound like fun.

  4. I don't think I can even get in or out of a kayak. A canoe is more my speed....

    1. I got in ok but I was glad one of the out-fitter guys helped me out.