Up the Creek with a Camera
Fish Eating Creek - if you've never been and you're ever in South Florida, it's worth the 1.5 hour drive from Fort Lauderdale, especially if you enjoy nature, photography, bird watching or kayaking. You'll want to take a camera!
We'd been here once before with our dog Toby, but we were paddling upstream and I only had my cell phone with me and Toby was doing a good job of rocking the boat. I had no idea it would be as breathtakingly beautiful as it was. Now I wanted to return with the "big guns" and no boat rocking.
Not too bad for cell phone pics!
Summer's out here in the Everglades are unbareably hot, and mosquitoes are out in full force, while in Winter the water levels are generally too low to paddle, so it's a bit of a catch 22. However, it was my Birthday weekend in early December and someone must have been looking down on me (Mum, Dad???), because the water levels were high enough and it was a perfectly clear and relatively cool day!
We had organized to catch the shuttle from Fish Eating creek outpost to Burnt Bridge and planned to paddle the 8 miles back to the parking area. I had all my gear and had specially bought a dry-bag for the trip. I had my cell phone, my Sony RX100, and my Nikon D7200 with a 17-70mm Sigma lens and a 70-300mm Nikon lens, so no excuses this time.
I was very disappointed that we didn't have time to stop along the way as driving along Route 27 just as the sun was rising, is a sight I seldom get to witness and it was quite spectacular! I'm still planning to rise early one morning, and head out there again for a sunrise shoot or better still, sunset!
After checking in and smearing on sunscreen (just me), we were ready to go. We put in around 9:30am and began our paddle. My husband insisted I was useless at paddling and just resulted in us going round in circles (I think my paddling is quite excellent), so he paddled the entire way on his own. I think he was just doing me a favor and really wanted me to focus on my photography - so considerate (or so I like to think, LOL). Luckily it was pretty easy going, so I didn't feel too bad about it and just enjoyed the ride.
The morning light was just perfect for photography, creating beautiful bald cypress reflections on the calm waters. The bird life was unbelievable - any bird watchers do yourself a favor - especially in the winter months when the migratory birds move into this area. We also saw countless alligators of all different sizes, basking in the warm morning sun - so pleased Toby wasn't here as he'd have freaked out (it's bad enough when he spies an iguana, let alone a 4 foot alligator).
After 2 hours of paddling, and a brief altercation with a submerged log, we disembarked on a small beach for a break and a bite to eat. I hauled out my tripod for some long-exposure shots. I was inspired after seeing some amazing bald cypress shots online (specifically Paul Marcellini - a great inspiration to me), and I wanted to try out this effect for myself. I didn't quite achieve the effect that he did, but it was a good attempt!
Another 3 hours of paddling revealed more amazing bird life, including Pink Spoonbills, Egrets, Herons, and black vultures, and more stunning scenery. I arrived back at the outpost around 2pm feeling most energized and eager to see what I'd taken. I not sure my husband felt the same energy, but we both had an amazing adventure. So great to just get lost in nature for a day - sure does feed the soul!
Can't wait to return!