Today I set out with my 3 youngest kids (ages: 2,4,7) on the beautiful Wakulla River. I was paddling an old Boy Scout Camp canoe that should have been retired a long time ago. We launched @ the US Hwy 98 bridge and planned on paddling up river and then returning to this spot. Immediately upon putting in, we saw several people in canoes & kayaks gathering just north of the bridge. Only one thing draws this many people to one spot on such a desolate river: MANATEES! We paddled over to join the mob, when a mother surfaced just below us, gently pushing us away. This was a magnificent creature, so large, yet so gently. She had two deep, white scars and several smaller, gray scars on her back from boat propellers. Then I saw two smaller manatees that appeared to be her young. One was smaller than the other and at times would swim next to the mother a try to nurse. We finally left the manatees and headed north.
I am not sure how much progress we made, but I'm sure we didn't go more than three miles. In this short trip (only 2.5hrs. round-trip) we saw manatees, 3 alligators, numerous fish & birds, and 1 Game Warden). As we got back to the boat landing, I let the kids play in the crystal clear water while I struggled to load the canoe on top of my Suburban. It was as I loaded the canoe, I saw one of the largest leaches I have ever seen, stuck to the bottom of the canoe (this ended swim time for the kids).
The only thing I can say bad about our adventure is: 1) In the rush to see the manatees, I forgot to apply sunscreen and we all got too much sun; 2) The leaches (This is the outdoors though); and 3) As we were about to leave, I heard people on the bridge screaming (I assumed kids joking around). I then saw them throw some powdery substance into the river (this made me mad & disgusted that someone would pollute such a beautiful place). As we pulled out on the road I could now see these "polluters" were all wearing black & sobbing uncontrollably (they had just dumped someones ashes into the river). At seeing this, I was a little more understanding, but still disgusted.
Overall this was a great trip and one I will repeat.
None at the Landing. Most of the land bordering the River is privately owned and posted "NO TRESSPASSING"
Head south from Tallahassee on Woodville Hwy (SR 363) about 15 miles. At US HWY 98, turn right (West) and go approximately 1 mile. You will see T-N-T Canoe Rentals on the left (Southside) of the HWY. The public boat landing is down the same drive as the rental business.