Taking the boat ride down the Wakulla River in North Florida, the main entertainment on this steamy, rainy summer day was the wacky antics of the resident cormorants. Swimming, diving, fanning their wings and generally just hanging out with their turtle friends ignoring the humans passing by. They made me chuckle with their expressive faces. As soon as I got home and took a look at the photos, I just had to paint one little guy. His indignant expression cracked me up and those hilarious big webbed feet are priceless.
Wakulla Springs State Park, about 20 miles Southeast of Tallahassee, has several claims to fame besides it’s obvious beauty and wildlife. It is the home of a deep spring fed cave that can be dated back to prehistoric times with the bones of extinct animals littering the floor of the cave, or so the ranger told us. (I didn’t actually go down there to have a look for myself!) The water is almost crystal clear looking down to the seemingly bottomless spring pool but is apparently fairly cool for Florida water. The swimming area was full of people cooling off until the rain began. Too hot this time of year but in the fall, manatees come up the river to the spring area to have their young.
The two biggest claims to fame of Wakulla Springs Park and River is that it was the site of several of the old Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller and the site of the cult classic horror movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Some say the Creature is still hanging around waiting to become a star again. Stories were told of Johnny Weissmuller practicing his famous Tarzan yell from the windows of the beautiful Wakulla Lodge and Inn. Gators were abundant in the waters and laying around on the banks of the river. I wonder if the film crews had any run ins with the scary guys while filming. I didn’t hear of any gators snacking on film crew or actors. Maybe they aren’t too tasty.
The cormorant painting was a start for some larger ones. This one is only 3 inches x 6 inches but I needed to get the expression down while the memory was still vivid. They are funny guys. Its a beautiful place to visit. The Friends of Wakulla have done a wonderful job of keep the area pristine. Check out their website and help them out if you can. Stop off at the Lodge for some great food in the Inn or an ice cream in the old fashioned ice cream parlor sporting a beautiful marble counter that claims to be the longest marble bar outside of Italy. Wakulla Springs is a beautiful, magical place for some serious nature time. And lots of artistic inspiration.