Friday, June 23, 2017

Father's Day on the Blackwater River

On Father's Day we decided to take the Island King up to the Blackwater River for a day of paddling and playing.

We packed up our kayaks and his canoe (he says the Indian in him whispers that he needs to be in a canoe not a yak) grabbed the Youngest Island Boy's girlfriend, Miss Mocha and her brother, Astronaut John and off we went.

On our drive up there were two crows flying around and they seemed to be following us. No matter how far down the Interstate we drove, they flew along, circling trees, resting and then catching up with us.

I jokingly told the Island King that crows following you is a “harbinger of death.”

Unless you're my cousin MG who has a crow that comes to her window every day to chat with her.

We put in about 4 miles upstream from the pull out spot and down the river we floated.



The river was a little high but there were still plenty of sandbars to stop and play on.



Being Father's Day I expected more people on the river but there weren't that many folks out there.

A few groups from Blackwater Canoe Rentals came by in tubes and there were several groups of locals messing around but we had a lot of time just floating along by ourselves.



This was the first time Miss Mocha has been kayaking and her and the Youngest had some serious trouble getting in sync with their paddles. I thought for sure one of them was going to konk the other on the head but they finally managed to get a rhythm going and luckily there were no head injuries.


We hadn't been on the river for long when two crows – which I am positive were the same ones who followed us on the Interstate – showed up.

They circled us for a LONG time and this one kept landing on trees near me and then crowing at the top of his lungs. I have no idea what he was saying but it was slightly unnerving after me joking about them warning of death.

I sat still, listened to what he was saying and after a few minutes he flew off and we didn't see him or his friend for the rest of the day.


I guess he had something on his mind and once he was able to tell me about it, he was off to bother speak to someone else.

I don't speak crow so I have no idea what he said.

We stopped on several sandbars to swim and then picked a big bar to have a picnic lunch on.

It just so happened that the sandbar we had our picnic on was directly across from a big bluff so we got to watch a family do some bluff jumping.




They had 3 generations of men, a 70 year old grandad, his two sons and one of their sons and let me tell you, granddad put those young ones to shame.

He climbed straight up that bluff like a spider monkey, jumped in the river and then did it again.

It didn't take long before the younger generation realized they couldn't let grandpa show them up so they all climbed up the bluff, lined up and took the plunge together. 



I noticed the Island King and the Island Girl with their heads together, whispering something and I knew they were going to be the next ones to jump off the bluff.

They tried to talk the rest of us into jumping as well but the Youngest, Miss Mocha, Astronaut John and I all have better sense so we decided watching would be good enough for us.

The bluff was about 15 feet above the water and after he jumped the Island King told me that 15 feet is just far enough for you to have time to change your mind before hitting the water. Of course at that point there's no going back so no matter what your mind tells you, your body is going to hit the water.


They enjoyed the jump but both of them agreed it was a one time thing and they didn't need to do it again.

We spent all day on the river and pulled into the pickup spot about 5:30.


When we got there a Blackwater State Park ranger was there and everyone was looking down river.

I walked up just in time to hear that a woman had gone past the pickup spot with no tube, yak or floating contraption of any kind.

The Park Ranger was on his radio calling for a search vessel so I offered to take my yak and head down stream to see if I could find her.

He agreed since it was going to take a while for the search vessel to arrive but just as I was about to get into my yak a man walked up and told the park ranger that the woman was his wife and that she was sitting on the other side of the river on a sandbar just around the bend and that she wouldn't come back because she was mad at him.

The park ranger walked across the bridge and then we watched as he blazed a trail along the river down to the sandbar where the woman was sitting.

He was just a cussing as he was chopping branches and clearing a path but that was nothing compared to the cussing the woman did when he made her walk back with him.

They got to bridge where her husband was waiting and the two of them had a huge screaming fight – which ended with a hug and her getting in the truck with him.

The ranger just stood there shaking his head and when I asked if it had been a rough day he said “Well, the domestic disputes are a common thing but since no one drowned today I guess it was a good day.”

The Island King enjoyed his Father's Day and even though the crows were watching us nothing bad happened.


It was a wonderful, relaxing day and I always enjoy taking someone who's never been.


Most people only think of the coast when they think of Florida but there is an absolute paradise hidden in the woods and I love watching people fall in love with that part as well.



And as usual, I can't wait to go back.
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