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Articles Lodging on the Santa Fe River, Alachua County, Florida


Low Santa Fe River Waters Reveal Artifacts
June 2011
by Virginia Seacrist
            The Santa Fe River in North Florida is lower than I’ve seen it in my 42 year experience…low usually means crystal clear, as it does this June 2011. The hydrobikes at my historic cabin float below the limestone caverns where I’ve seen otters nap. Across the river, I see white sandy shores never exposed in this century or in decades before.
            My friend jumps on the hydrobikes while I lounge on my river bank. Two huge cypress trees fell last year along the Suwannee River Management shore. Between them I found a deer dead, and along them turtles of all sizes often splay their reptilian legs and neck. On the land behind, nature plants varieties of wild flowers.
            It’s a good place now to sunbathe or to investigate what the river left behind when it receded in our long, tough drought. So, I see my friend glide onto the shore, dismount, and walk the shoreline, impossible to do when the Santa Fe River is at its normal depth, six to twelve feet deeper.
            I can imagine her exclaiming seeing deer, raccoon, and otter prints when she calls, “Look what I found.” I’d brought across on the hydrobikes the deer carcass in tact after the vultures left it stripped of all but skin. Don’t ask why, but I keep skeletons of huge turtles, snakes, and this one was complete from nose to tail bone.
            I watch her again stride the hydrobike, peddling on down to the confluence of the Ichetucknee. That silver river bends around the Suwannee County bank of the Santa Fe River, making a clear demarcation of blue against now crystal clear green water for hundreds of yards. That’s where all the boats tie up to enjoy the baptismal waters of the Ichetucknee, because the low water creates shallow rapids boats cannot navigate on the Ichetucknee.
            Eventually she peddles up river to port on my shallow lime rock bank. She pulls from her pocket a perfect translucent amber colored spear head which might have lain deep in the river for thousands of years. We wonder if the Indian who shot the point aimed at a manatee or at a deer, or could it have been a beaver or an otter?
            During these low waters we see into a level of time before these days in which we plow the waters of that same river.

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