Updated: May 15
I passed the halfway point! Thus far I’ve covered 608 miles. Now I’ll be measuring distances in miles to get home, rather than miles from home. Still, there are a lot of miles to go and by the time I’m close, the 1,000th mile will be water under the paddles... Today is also close to the halfway mark in terms of time, so the journey is on schedule. Hopefully the winds in the Gulf of Mexico keep it that way.
My goal was to reach the town of Bradford where the river takes a hard turn south towards the ocean. It’s also a place for a hotel stop, buy food, and best of all, eat a warm meal. I saw on Google Earth that there was a McDonald’s within walking distance of the boat ramp, so I dreamed all day about how many delicious chicken McNuggets I would eat; I think the 20 piece box is the largest I can get.
All this thought of food, however, made the energy bars I eat everyday seem bland and uninteresting. I was hungry, but eating only out of a sense of necessity; it felt wasteful to eat such tedious food when I knew that in a few hours I would be drowning in deliciousness like a fat kid in a candy factory.
On the way I passed by a place called Troy Springs; a natural upwelling of ground water on the side of the river that comes from deep within the calcareous rocks. The water was clear like a glass crystal and I could have been paddling in an aquarium. It was also a few degrees colder than the river and didn’t immediately mix with it, for a while the murkiness of the Suwannee is pierced with a sleek of lucid clarity.
I stopped at the spring to wash off the river water and sweat from my wetsuit. Although the river water is fresh, the tea pigments leave residue that stains everything. I swam across the eye of the spring coming out feeling like I had washed away a ghost imprint of myself in the water. “Did you see the big alligator gar?” Someone asked me as I walked out of the water. The alligator gar is a huge fish with a menacing face snout like an alligator. It looks like a hideous man eater but feeds only on fish.
“No, I didn’t, how big was it?” I asked.
“About this big.” He said, forcing his arms to stretch open as far as he could. “Six feet. It was hiding right under the rock you stopped to stand on. Huge thing but really interesting.” Good thing I didn’t see it, or I wouldn’t have been in a blissful state of ignorance. I chose to walk the long way around the spring back to the boat.
Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation