Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"I'm in a little trouble." Kayaking and Paddleboarding at Silver Springs State Park II

Just a few years ago, one of the attractions at Silver Springs was a large area filled with exotic creatures such as alligators, flamingos, Florida panthers, etc.  A boardwalk meandered through the area which also contained rest rooms, small cafes, benches and caged reptiles.  It was a wonderful place to spend an hour or two.

That's all gone now.  In its place is a brand new boardwalk which rises over a small tributary that leads from a kayak/canoe entrance to the Silver River.  The boardwalk continues to circle around the lush Florida landscape for about a quarter of a mile. 

The sign above describes the work of Mr. Ross Allen who spent his life in this area caring for the animals and introducing several generations of visitors to the fauna of central Florida.  Unfortunately, Mr. Allen is gone also, and while the new boardwalk is interesting it would be rare if you saw any species of non-human animals as you walked it.

The above photo shows a few of the folks who have just begun their kayaking/paddleboarding trip.  Some will go under the boardwalk out to the Silver River, and others will turn right and and float down the tributary until they come to another entrance to the Silver River at which point they can continue to the larger river or turn around and head back.

Please note the man in the rear, kneeling on his paddleboard.  We're going to meet him again.

Oh, here he is, paddle in hand, getting ready to make the turn south.  You'd think he was an experienced paddleboarder at this point.

Not too far down the tributary, it widens and persons walking the boardwalk can get some nice photos of the typical central Florida flora.  Note the large tree/log which is protruding from under the boardwalk out into the canal.

And it's at this point we meet up with our paddleboarding friend one more time.  It appears he has fallen off his board.  We, along with some other folks, stopped to look at him curiously as it's rare to see people in the water here what with alligators lurking nearby.

But we soon realized he wasn't having fun, he was having a hard time.  The current is very swift and he was unable to get back up on the board.  He'd duck his head, push as hard as he could, but when he lifted his head and spit out water, he hadn't gone more than an inch.

Two young men, tall and muscular stopped briefly.  When they heard he was in trouble, they walked off.  (Later I saw one of them eating an ice cream cone.) Meanwhile, our friend continued to struggle.  More people stopped to watch.  A couple said they'd go for help.

Finally, another younger man climbed over the boardwalk railing and urged him on.  Eventually, our paddleboarder was able to get close enough to the bank where the current eased.  The young man caught the front of the board with his foot to steady it and then another fellow stopped to help.  The paddleboarder was able to hand this man his paddle and he used it to help push the man back up on the board.

"Whew," said the paddleboarder.  "I was in trouble out there!"

And then, after a few minutes, he knelt down on the board and took off downstream, paddling away.  I turned my camera off and sauntered down the boardwalk.  

Nothing to see here folks, just keep moving along.


Shammickite said...

Oh that was an exciting story. I thought he was going to get eaten by an alligator! I don't think I'd go anywhere near that water with the threat of alligators nearby.
Interesting story about Ross Allen, he was very dedicated to researching and preserving the creatures of Silver Springs. I can't even imagine trying to milk a rattlesnake.

Francisco Manuel Carrajola Oliveira said...

Que maravilha estas águas transparentes.
Um abraço e boa Primavera.

Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
O prazer dos livros

Sharon Anck said...

Holy cow, that was exciting. I'm so glad someone came to his aid. It sounds like those muscular boys couldn't be bothered. And that folks is why I would never go paddle-boarding.

William Kendall said...

I wouldn't want to be taking chances in waters where gators are known to be.

RedPat said...

It is good to know that there are at least some heroes around!

Vicki said...

I remember visiting Silver Springs when we would come to Florida from Ohio for Christmas vacations. It was amazing! Now it's ok, but definitely not the same.

So sad that people just kept going instead of helping him. If they were in trouble they would want someone to help them.

bill burke said...

Glad someone came to help Mr. Paddleboat. I thought it was lame that the two "muscular men" kept on walking.
A great story by Lowell, the Storyteller! :)

Kay said...

Just one more good reason to wear a life jacket...

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...

What a tale. I look at Silver Springs and it reminds me of the Peter, Paul, and Mary song, "Where have all the flowers gone?" Where have all the alligators gone......


PerthDailyPhoto said...

Gosh his unfortunate experience obviously didn't put him off then! Not that I'd ever attempt it but that would have ended it before it began 😀

Laura. M said...

Good and healthy walks among nature. Lovely Lowell photos.The river looks very clean.
Un abrazo.

magiceye said...

Lovely captures and superb narration!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a story. I was surprised at the last picture -- felt sure he'd give it up at that point. Gosh.

stardust said...

I was relieved the paddler was helped to get back on board. I love these photos as you might know I’m particular about reflections, especially the fifth image with the rippling-out which is dramatic and beautiful. It made me imagine another world under water.


"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." — Henri Cartier-Bresson