north florida - wild florida - suwannee sound

By: marsHen , 11:35 AM GMT on February 04, 2014

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05:40, 62f. very foggy. woke roosters up. guardian sleeping in front. pup woke her up. brief walk with both. guardian heading down east lane barking. pup not allowed to follow. packing a lunch..
09:00, low tide ebbing at suwannee river. south wind, 2 knts. 58f. foggy. no-see-ums out in full force. fog so thick the north bank is obscured from the south bank. heading out mcgriff pass to trawl and do offshore sets with the bait seine. oyster and shell bars on either side of pass full of seagulls and cormorants resting. heaps of filamentious green algae collecting in shallows. catches were low. water temps, low to mid 50's. water clarity low due to tannins.
could not see from channel marker to channel marker. felt our way out into the sound. land disappeared.
catches were low. pinfish of all sizes predominated. two trawls brought in a lot of big, heavy boring sponges with attendant juvenile stone crabs and portunus crabs. two pulls with bait seine on shell bars with heavy incoming current flowing netted a lot of young-of-the-year spot (Lei. xanthurus) around 1 inch in size. got a few juvenile flounder in trawl and 2 juvenile black sea bass. several miles offshore fog was so thick visibility was greatly reduced. no birds in sight. but water clarity improved to 2 meters. tide turned around 11:00.
last 2 offshore sets were on suwannee reef and half moon reef.
it was cold out in the fog offshore but as soon as we got close to the mainland, it warmed up. we all took our foul weather jackets off simultaneously.. fog disappeared and sun was out. the tannin-stained water mirrored the blue sky perfectly.
the state has set up new oyster aquaculture leases on half moon reef just offshore from east pass. the lease sites were crammed with birds - white and brown pelicans, cormorants, several different types of seagulls including my favorite, the herring gull! and ducks! they were all over the reef - landing, taking off, circling, resting, diving.. it was glorious. found myself thinking, it must have been this way hundreds of years ago. I soaked in the visuals.
on trip back to marina though east pass, a large, at least 8 ft., gator slid off a peat bank and disappeared in the river. earlier a smaller gator crossed the river in front of the boat. a few ospreys.
16:10, 74f at back door. sunny. unloaded groceries and feed. walked pup. turkey chili for supper and a much needed cup of coffee.
17:50, 72f, clear. waxing crescent moon showing above the farm house. did chores. walk with pup and guardian on cactus field boundary. scoping out lighterwood.
21:30, 67f. moon shining in back door. lots of stars. a lovely clear night. pup barking at armadillos. guardian barking at skunk..

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About marsHen

marine biologist around the Suwannee River delta. Raise Cracker sheep on an old Cracker farm ~ 12 mi. (as the crow flies) from the Gulf.