Florida Paddle Notes

An Ocklawaha Moonrise and Sunset

Sunset through the Tree TrunksWith the Rodman Reservoir drawdown taking place every few years, it presents a wonderful opportunity to experience paddling on the original Ocklawaha channel, lined with the towering remnants of Bald Cypress, Tupelo, and Ash, killed when the reservoir was filled. These past couple of weeks I have shared paddles to the ‘Sentinel Cypress’, an early morning Sunrise through a cold mist, and today I share a unique paddle to observe the January ‘Wolf’ Moon rising over the Ocklawaha, Enjoy!…James

An Ocklawaha River Sunrise

Ocklawaha SunriseThis morning I planned a short trip over to the Ocklawaha River near Orange Springs in order to capture photographs of the sunrise through the cold haze and dead tree trunks, exposed during the Rodman Dam drawdown. I was on the water by 7:00 am, it was in the low 40°’s but well worth it. Not a soul around, hundreds of Storks, Limpkins, and Herons just waking up. The haze, the silence, and the silhouettes of dead tree trunks made for an eerie, yet beautiful setting…totally cool!…James

Ocklawaha River – End of Year Exploration

Ibis on the Ocklawaha RiverThis final paddle had a mission to find one of several Sentinel Cypress’ located throughout the swamp forests of the Ocklawaha Basin. With tips from previous guides, and without being given the exact location, we were able to locate one of these beauties and photograph it! It was the perfect way for Florida Paddle Notes to end 2019…James

Ocklawaha River – Paynes Landing to Orange Springs

Ocklawaha River WildernessRodman Reservoir is currently in a drawdown, where the water level goes from an average of 18′ – 20′ down to approximately 11′. The drawdown exposes the original Ocklawaha River channel along with the remains of hundreds of Cypress tree stumps that once lined the banks of the river. Today, Florida Paddle Notes explores a portion of the ‘Lower Ocklawaha’ from Paynes Landing to Orange Springs. The route is quite scenic during the drawdown with plenty of wildlife to view…James

Ocklawaha River – Rodman Reservoir Drawdown

Ocklawaha ReflectionRodman Reservoir is currently in a drawdown, where the water level goes from an average of 18′ – 20′ down to approximately 11′. The drawdown exposes the original Ocklawaha River channel along with the remains of hundreds of Cypress tree stumps that once lined the banks of the river. Several springs known as ‘hidden’ or ‘lost’ springs’ are also now revealed with the lower water level and today’s paddle takes Florida Paddle Notes to a few of these springs…James

Hontoon Dead River

Hontoon Island State ParkWe set out on a nice Fall day, sunny, breezy and high in the upper 70’s. Our goal for this 10 mile trip was to launch at French Avenue, head 2.5 miles north on the St. Johns River, paddle by Hontoon Island State Park and enter the Hontoon Dead River on the west side of Hontoon Island, head south and return to the St Johns River, paddling North with the current and completing the loop…James

Ocklawaha River – Eureka West to Payne’s Landing

Canon Springs - Ocklawaha RiverPaddling the Ocklawaha River is always an invitation to adventure. The historic river has a unique history that continues to be in news every year due to the Rodman Dam. The paddle today was on a 7-mile portion of the lower Ocklawaha between Eureka at Hwy 316 and Paynes Landing. Our goal was to visit Cannon Springs and Tobacco Patch Landing Springs, both usually covered and hidden by the high water created by the reservoir…James

Haw Creek

Single file through a Haw Creek ClogA new adventure for Florida Paddle NotesHaw Creek. The creek originates in swampland roughly 13.5 miles West of Ormond Beach, flows North for 9 miles before heading westward to our launch at Russell Landing. Most noticeable on this paddle was the diversity of trees along the creek…James