The waters of the Loxahatchee River at Dickinson were dark and looked deep. The banks were mostly tight tangles of mangrove and didn't look like it would be possible to get ashore if I fell out of the canoe. (You have to remember that in the past I have not been comfortable in any kind of small boat, and would only swim in pools where I could see the bottom.)
The waters in the run of the Wekiwa Springs are crystal clear, and don't look more than five or six feet deep. You can see almost all of the bottom. There are many places along the banks that if we tipped the canoe, we could probably just walk out of the water.
In view of this, I was up to giving canoeing another go!
I can't express how much better I felt this second time. We were on our own, and decided to go at a very slow pace so we could enjoy the scenery. Craig did a great job of steering, and didn't push me to go faster than I was ready for. In fact, our pace could have been described as "controlled drifting" most of the time.
These trees looked like three sisters, each going her own way. The greenish color in the foreground is the somewhat sandy bottom.
Along many of the banks there were large masses of water plants.
Before we went out, I asked about alligators attacking people who had tipped over their canoes and fallen into the water, and was told not to worry. They did have one teenage boy bitten last year during the gator breeding season when he swam into the water plants where a bull gator was courting.
It is not breeding season now. If you don't bother them, they won't bother you.
We did see one smallish gator in the water on the edge of some of the plants, but he was too quick to get a picture of.
He wanted to get away from us as much as we wanted to avoid him!
We saw numerous birds and turtles. At one point I spotted a buck deer, who still had his antlers, walking along the edge of the water.
Wanting this to be a "great experience", we turned back before my back started to hurt. However, by the time we were almost back I started to get leg cramps, a stitch in my side, and my foot fell asleep. None of which made me regret going. I just wish I had a younger body. I will go again!
Total trip time was an hour and a half.
The memory will last forever.
[From Craig] Merikay has had an irrational fear of lakes and streams since I know her. It seems that when she was the youngest of five kids, one of her brothers would tell her stories about the monster-fish that lived at the bottom of the inland lakes that her family would visit for recreation. Of course a grown, college-educated woman doesn't actually believe that there are monster-fish down there any more, but without confronting bodies of water like we're doing now, it's hard to get over the residuals.