Tag Archives: kayak

Kayaking with alligators…

and turtles and birds…and who knows what else was out there in the water?

Vickie and I went out to Orlando to play in the sun for a few days and then come home with CollegeKiddo. Our plan was to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and to see an alligator somewhere. Mischief managed on both counts.

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I’m not much of a theme park person, but I loved how this area of the park looked like a quaint little village. Most of the shop windows were just set dressing, and they were fun to peruse. It’s been a while since I read the books, and I’ve only seen the first movie, but it was quite amusing, all the same.

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We explored the University of Central Florida Arboretum after dinner at Bubbalou’s BBQ with CollegeKiddo. (Big finals study weekend, so mostly work and no play for him.)

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The next day’s main adventure was kayaking at Wekiva Springs State Park. This is a beautiful and beautifully kept state park. You can rent kayaks or paddleboats or canoes here. There’s a swimming area with 72 degree water. Lovely! But it’s best to stay in the swimming area if you want to be *in* the water.

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Me? I like being *on* the water.

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We saw lots of yellow slider turtles

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herons, egrets, and other birds

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and small alligators (up to 4 feet long)

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There are at least five alligators in the last picture: two on the log, three in the water. Click for a larger view. Do you see them all?

This was a very serene way to get close to the wildlife! In the afternoon we went to Winter Park, even though all the museums are closed on Monday. We toured the lakes and canals via pontoon boat. It’s a beautiful area.

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Even the sidewalk utility covers are beautiful in Winter Park.

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We popped back to Winter Park the next morning for a quick visit to the Morse Museum to see the beautiful Tiffany treasures there, but not before having coffee and knitting with blog buddy Dee. Three knitters, three projects.

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In the afternoon, we took CollegeKiddo on an airboat tour of Mullet Lake (this was after his last final that morning).

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Fun, but definitely not as serene as kayaking! Alligators don’t lie around posing for you in the lake.

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We did see this one, though. And a group of manatees. They surface with just their noses, so they can take in air. You can hear them breathing; it’s very cool. (Click on this picture for a zoomable view.)

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Lots of birds, and this baby alligator, too. It’s about 10 inches long.

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Captain Bill was full of stories, and we learned about some things, too. Do you know what this is?

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We packed in a lot of activity in a few days. I’m glad to be home. But one more cool thing to show you. We flew next to a thunderstorm on the way out. How cool is that?

Back to knitting! I finished knitting my green sample that was in the picture, and I’ll have a couple design reveals for you in the next week or so. I’ve been busy!

Life’s a Beach…

Well, perhaps not, but I did have a stellar beach getaway last week. I went to Hawaii, the Big Island, with a group of friends to help celebrate a birthday. No people pix, since I don’t have permission to share them. What happens in Hawaii stays in Hawaii! But I did take my knitting. Gotta work, you know!

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It’s a shawl; can’t you tell? I love all the blues in the water and the white sand at Manini’owali Beach at Kua Bay. This is a good beach for wave jumping.

Snorkeling was great (and easy) at Kahalu’u Beach, and rock hopping was even better for pictures.

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This guy was there all three days; sea turtles come up to bask in the sun on the rocks.

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My favorite fish, the Moorish Idol. They’re quick; it’s hard to get a decent picture from above. My second favorite fish? The humuhumunukunukuapua’a, or triggerfish, which is the state fish of Hawaii. I just like being able to say it, but it’s good looking, too.

We went to Buddha’s Cup to see how Kona coffee is grown, and had a very informative tasting session there. The grounds (ha!) are beautiful, as is Milo, the resident parrot.

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This is a jade vine. It comes in this unusual blue-green, and also fire-engine red.

Lots of different birds to spot here!

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These are my favorite birds, the saffron finches.

We saw many beautiful sunsets.

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And howled at the full moon.

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I happened to wake up early the next morning (6:30) and saw the full moon setting over the water. It was magical. I was so pleased to get this picture, a 7 second exposure. Who knew my little point and shoot could do that? It was left on the “night portrait” setting for the birthday candles from the night before. When I realized it could do a long exposure, I set the timer for a 2 second delay so I didn’t have to touch the camera to push the shutter button.

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The view from our lanai looked out over the water, with crashing waves on the lava rock below. It’s high whale season. We saw whales every day, sometimes heads, sometimes backs, and my favorite, the tail flip. It’s hard to catch a picture, though. Can you see the whale spouting in this picture?

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And here’s a whale of a tale for you. It happened on our last day in Hawaii. That afternoon, we were on the lanai, watching whales a half mile offshore: flukes, breeching, turning…thrilling. We saw a kayaker getting closer and closer to the whales. We weren’t sure it was a good idea to be that close. And then…

A whale swamped the kayak! The kayaker disappeared for a bit. We waited for him to surface, unsure of what to do. Eventually his head popped up, a tiny speck in the sea. We could tell with our binoculars that he didn’t have a life jacket, just his floating paddle. He didn’t return to his kayak, though. We knew that he couldn’t swim to shore where we were, because it was all rocks and crashing waves. He was trying to swim back to the marina, which is maybe a mile or more  away. We called 911, and they asked us to keep an eye on him while they sent a boat and had 2 helicopters on standby.

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Before 911 arrived, a small tour boat (zodiac) happened by and he waved them down. Can you see him in the picture above? His head is a tiny black speck in the big ocean, on  the same level as the boat, but 1/3 from the right edge of the picture. Zoom in! They picked him up and transferred him to the rescue skiff that showed up a few moments later. He looked happy to be rescued. The skiff took him back to get his kayak, because he wanted to bring it in, so apparently he was ok.

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Tour boat on left, rescue skiff at center, and kayak is just to the right of the skiff.

We ran into some firefighters at the grocery store later and got the scoop from them. The kayak was broken. The kayaker had some minor scrapes on his arm from the broken kayak, but nothing too serious. He probably could have made it back swimming, eventually, but it was good that we called. It’s a good idea to stay away from the whales, and maybe smarter to stay with the kayak to avoid SHARKS! (We hadn’t even thought about sharks. Yikes.) And apparently no one wears life vests here (except me).

We were glad to see the kayaker live to see another adventure. 60 years old; I wonder how many of his nine lives he’s used so far? We think we should go back every year to monitor the whales and the kayakers!

Short row shoulder shaping

I finished the shoulder shaping on the back of the hoodie the night before OFFF. I love how this Louet Riverstone worsted is knitting up. Funny, because I didn’t like it for the February Lady, but it’s perfect for this sweater. (The color is not quite right but my editing software is pretty rudimentary and can’t fix it better than this.)

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I’m short-rowing the shoulders so I can use a three needle bind off to join the fronts to the back, when I get there. Here’s a link to a great walk-through on Knitty on short-rowing shoulders.

Sunday was gorgeous here, 80 degrees and sunny. We went kayaking in Ridgefield, Washington on Lake River. Funny name, but it’s a very slow-moving river that flows from Vancouver Lake, paralleling the Columbia River. The Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge borders parts of this river. I forgot my camera in the car, so these pictures are from my phone.

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The Kid had a single kayak, and the Husband and I had a tandem. This was the first time I’d been in a kayak that had a rudder; the back paddler (me) controlled the rudder by foot. It was disconcerting at first; I’m used to steering with the paddle, but once I figured it out, it was pretty nice to just paddle alternating left and right.

We saw a lot of birds, including a great blue heron. It was an awesome sight when it took off from the riverbank. We also saw fish jumping. But our favorite thing was a caterpillar. We found it swimming near the shore, looking pretty bedraggled. It looked like a fishing lure. The Kid scooped it up with his paddle, and gave it a ride on the back of his kayak until it dried off.

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We were afraid it would fall off when it started crawling around, so we scooped it up on a paddle and flipped it back to shore. He didn’t even say thank you!

Marie has nominated me for a blog award. Thanks, Marie; I’m honored!

award

Here are the instructions for the award recipients:

1. Please put the award on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. You must nominate at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.
4. Add links to the recipients.
5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

(Please save the award picture to your own hard drive and do not link to mine….thanks!)

I’d like to nominate the following blogs, and there’s a theme. I love the pictures on these blogs; big, bright, colorful.

Toxophily, Peaceful Knitter, Knit Quest, and Tiennie Knits

Isn’t this a cool way to honor the blogs you love, and to discover new ones, too?