Wednesday, November 26, 2014
A RARE AND EXCITING SIGHTING ON PEPPER CREEK
Last Saturday had a very exciting moment on Pepper Creek.
We have four kinds of turtles on the creek. Two hard shells, the soft shell and the Florida or Alligator Snapper. There is a very large on in our creek, but he is very rarely seen- I have seen it once in over ten years on the creek- as it tends to lay on the bottom and lure fish into its very large mouth with an appendage on its tongue that resembles a worm. Fish swim in, they don't swim out!
This past Saturday, the boat schedule got all messed up due to rain, but it cleared and I happened to be there and I jumped in. I was given the 1 pm boat. Well, a bit past the halfway mark, we were slowly making our way (as I do) through the "deepest and sunniest part of the creek, where the gators and turtles like to hang out..." when a lady in one of the seats just in front of me leans over the railing and says, "There is one of them now," and I look and there, clearly visible through the 3 feet of clear, though tinted, water was the turtle- the huge alligator snapper that lives in our creek, that I have seen once in ten years, and then only as a quickly vanishing blur in passing.
I knew not to make any changes in the boat lest I scare him away, but I did announce it, and the all the passengers were trying to catch a view, to little avail, already past, but given I was the only boat on the water at the time, and the general free-form nature of the day, and having the time per the run schedule, once I was clear of the beast, I slowed the boat to a stop, with some tight maneuvers, got it turned around and keeping the passengers fully informed, and excited, very slowly headed back to the point where this magnificent creature had been spotted.
And we saw him! I had every one up and on the left side of the boat, quite distinct tilt to that side, and several photographers got shots, including myself, nothing for Nat Geo, but something anyway. He did move a bit as we passed, apparently alerted by such a disturbance so close to the previous, even though I had cut the motor and we were simply drifting, but just slightly, and most, if not all of us, got a good sighting of him. It was all very exciting and we were all chatting about it the rest of the trip. I continued on my new course, went around the back side of the island and into the dock.
On the return trip, I did again vary the route, but to no effect, he was gone. Having traversed the area at a very slow speed, I resumed normal speed as I entered the narrower main run of the creek leaving Osprey Island- and then a young boy on my left gave a shout out and there he was, but alas too late to do anything other than note his presence.