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Turnbull Creek


Estuaries are unique bodies of water that consist of a mixture of salt water from the ocean and fresh water from creeks and rivers. The vast Turnbull Swamp Basin is the northernmost point for fresh water drainage into the Indian River Lagoon, emptying into the lagoon through Turnbull Creek, thus forming its headwaters. The navigable portion of the creek itself begins in a remote wilderness area southwest of Oak Hill. Impassable in low water, the swamp gives way to a narrow waterway that very gradually broadens as it moves downstream. As the water moves toward the estuary, associated aquatic habitats change from more typical freshwater vegetation beginning in the swamp with cypress, oaks and palm hammocks, then to wax myrtles, willows and cattails and, finally, to a seemingly endless sea of cord grass. This beautiful salt marsh is home to numerous coastal birds; when the water levels are low, every turn of the narrow winding creek offers a chance for close-up looks at a wide variety of egrets and herons.

         Each turn of the winding creek reveals green herons skulking along the water's edge while white ibises probe its sandbars with their oddly decurved beaks. Snowy egrets dance in the shallows, their bright yellow feet flashing in the sun. Vultures circle lazily in warm thermals, joined by wood storks, majestic white pelicans, red-tailed hawks and an occasional bald eagle as they wind higher and higher. Red-shouldered hawks scream from the trees, and northern harriers glide over the marsh. Ospreys hover above while river otters frolic and alligators bask in the sun along the banks. Hundreds of great southern white butterflies flutter over salty vegetation; they migrate through these habitats each spring and fall. Fiddler crabs scurry into holes at the first sign of danger, males waving their menacing giant claws in the briny breeze. Turnbull Creek flows through pristine salt marsh, one of a very few areas surrounding the Indian River Lagoon that was never ditched and diked for mosquito control. The creek still looks the same way it did when pre-Columbian Indians plied its fertile waters.

A.  Trip Summary

        - Name of water body:  Turnbull Creek
        - Your name:  Joe                             
        - Your email:  joe@centralfloridakayakguide.com                                
        - What city/town you're from:  Melbourne, Fl
        - Nearest city, town, park, landmark to water body:  Indian River Lagoon
        - Distance (in miles):  Up to 4.5 miles - one way
        - Water:  brackish water
        - Wildlife Seen:  fish, birds, porpoise

B.  Put-In & Take-Out Information

        - Driving Directions to Put-In:  From I-95:  Exit 231 head East on CR-5A (Stuckway Rd) for 1 mile.  Turn RIGHT onto US-1.  Head South on US-1 for 1.3 miles.  Turn LEFT onto Huntington Ave.  Go all the way to the end.  Park is at the end of the road.
        - Parking Description at Put-In:  Paved publix park with one boat launch.
        - Fees:  Free
        - Facilities:  none
        - Driving AND Kayaking Directions to Take-Out:  Same Place As Put-In
        - Parking Description of Take-Out:  Same As Above
        - Fees:  Same As Above
        - Facilities at Take-Out:  Same As Above

C.  Description of Trip

        - Sights:  fish, porpoise, birds, manatees, fishermen, wild trees and brush
        - Hazards/Difficulties:  You may run aground in some shallow waters.
        - Opinion:  This is a fun trip.  I recommend kayaking this route from the Huntington Ave. park rather than the Put-In from US-1.  The creek was a nice paddle but the best part was paddling through the clear, shallow waters of the Indian River Lagoon.
 For information, visit www.abouttitusville.com/outdoors

        - Rating:  A     


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