Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

We had no idea what to expect as we headed to the Kenwood Boat Ramp for a full moon paddle on the Oklawaha River. Upon arrival, we were amazed at the huge expanse of cypress trees broken off a couple feet from their bases; thousands upon thousands.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

A gathering of the Putnam Blueways & Trails; the instructions said to bring a life preserver, a whistle, and lights for your boat. So, we did. I was nervous – with under a half a dozen paddling adventures, the idea of paddling at night was a bit scary.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

Getting Ready to Launch

We gathered in Interlachen south of the Kenwood Park boat ramp on the northern shore of the Rodman Reservoir and admired the far more experienced paddlers’ rigs. Some had roof racks, some had trailers. Everyone had life jackets. The paddle leader checked that everyone had lights and whistles.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

Everyone launched from the shore. The sand was full of freshwater shells. We could see a few fishermen scattered about.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

What surprised me was how friendly everyone was. I didn’t realize paddling is such a social event! With the quiet and relative ease of the activity coupled with very low noise level; conversations flowed.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

Setting Out

The group established a lead paddler, and well as a tail kayaker to keep everyone together. With easy strokes, we set off down the river. It was about 100 feet wide, with very gradual banks rising only a couple inches a quarter mile across.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

We paddled east 1.37 miles then we turned into a narrower historic original channel of the Oklawaha River. All the markers were far above us, as the water level usually is ten feet higher.

The Rodman Reservoir drawdown is conducted every four years. The goal is to allow the invasive plants in the area to die off without using chemicals. So, the drawdown is held every four years.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

Winding through the cypress stumps, we saw plenty of small alligators and birds. There was plenty of time to take photos of herons, ibis, storks, and we looked for but did not see any roseatte spoonbills. Can you find the small alligator in the photo above?

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

Blue Spring

After many twists and turns, we reached Blue Spring. The boil is marked by a small buoy. Everyone gathered to hear stories about the people who used to live in the area, and adults who were children in 1968 when the river was flooded.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

One poignant story was about a local who remembered hearing this father instruct him to look around, because the next week, the area would all be underwater. That was over 50 years ago. At the time, he could not really comprehend how different the area would look once flooded.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

As the sun set, the paddlers turned on their lights and slowly retraced their path back to the main channel.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

We purposely slowed down on the return to try to end the trip right as the moon rose.

Full Moon Rise

The moon finally did rise, just as we reached the boat ramp area. Several kayakers drifted a bit before heading back to land to load kayaks.

One group started a bonfire and planned to do some night fishing. Another group made plans to head into town for dinner.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

We chose to work our way home, pondering the meaning of all those broken off cypress, the Florida Barge Canal, the Rodman Reservoir, and the inaccessibility of all those natural springs.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

Don’t Bring Toxic Sunscreen

But you can bring reef-safe Sunscreen and Mask Defog that’s safe for water, marine life, and for humans! Stream2Sea have the only reef-safe sunscreen tested on fish. Plus, it comes in biodegradable sugar cane resin containers, so it’s a double win for us and the environment.

No matter where you plan to dive, whatever you put on your body will eventually find its way into a waterway, river, lake, stream, or ocean.Paragraph

Here’s an easy way to do your part in saving our oceans. Do your research! Then order reef-safe mask defog, sunscreen and hair products at Stream2Sea.com, use my code “KimW” for 10% off. AD: affiliate links used.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

What to Read Next

21 Items That Landed on My Cruise Ship Dive Trip “To Do Next Time” List

This was the first list, and I sure did look back at it and make some changes before we traveled this time. Now our system is even more refined! We followed all of those recommendations, and added the new ones in this list.

We do now carry our own First Aid Kits with us every time we go ashore. Also, with most dive boats not having any requirement to carry First Aid Kits, we believe it is worth it to go to the trouble of bringing our own. One of the benefits of bringing our own is familiarity with the contents.

The Boat Medic First Aid Kit shown above is housed in a waterproof, crush-proof container; very desirable on a dive boat. For 10% off at MyMedic, use the link here to save yourself just a bit as a reward for thinking safety first.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

Great Training Resource

My First Aid and CPR annual course simply did not have enough depth and breadth for all our outdoor activities. So, I highly recommend the Tactical Casualty Care online course from Crisis Medicine. In fact, I learned so much from the training, that I have been writing a lot about the topics and the training, hoping outdoor enthusiasts will take seriously the need for some self-sufficiency training.

For courses through Crisis Medicine, I’m able to offer you a 20% discount; just use my code, “DeepWH” at checkout for the TC2 course.

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

What to Read Next

What We Found Shore Diving for Shark Teeth in Venice, Florida // Collecting Fossils Legally

Venice Villas Studio #57 // Venice Florida // Airbnb Review

My Gear

Stohlquist Women’s Flo Lifejacket – I absolutely love this jacket. No chafe points, no thick back section, and front pockets! We went to about six different sporting goods stores, trying jackets on before I decided on this one. The online price is much better than at the retail shops, too. https://amzn.to/3d2OVZS

NRS Kayak Tow Line – we haven’t used this, but sure were tempted to yesterday. We had a huge headwind between us and the launch. https://amzn.to/38XYLJn

Basic Safety Kit for Kayaks – we each carry these because there’s a bilge pump, paddle float, and safety whistle. https://amzn.to/38TUaI2

Safety Lights in Red and Green – strobe, flash, blink – great for night kayak trips. https://amzn.to/33lH6dg

Black Diamond Storm Headlamp – we use these for everything. Online, we put wanted items in a list for each activity. Then we use the comments section to put an “ALA” price – the lowest price we have seen. Our method is to wait until the price is the lowest we’ve seen before purchasing. My list shows: ALA $22.97. https://amzn.to/2Qe68pi

Updated March 15, 2020

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking

, Oklawaha River Rodman Reservoir Drawdown Paddle // Full Moon Kayaking
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