As it turned out some of my destinations attracted the several friends to drive over from Ocala. Irmi, Steve and Liz drove over to meet me for lunch and an afternoon tour on the Singing River Boat Tour. The tour filled in a lot of the information about the flora and fauna of the area and clearly demonstrated the difference between a tannin river that flows from swamps and the spring fed rivers.
"You see us? These adventures mean we were left behind AGAIN! And we heard there was a little Jack Russell that got to go on that river tour. We were going to file a formal protest but then today, Thistle came over and we all hung out together. We can't show you the pictures of all that we did while Liz and Tina went to swim with the Manatees, because they would never trust us together unsupervised ever again. Thistle promised not to tell, also. They just think we "rested" in crates...."
Out on the river. Nice water property with good kayaking possibilities.
Some bird parents are going to be very sad...but even snakes need to eat. The trunk of the tree was banded with metal in an attempt to prevent snakes from robbing the wood duck's nest. John, our guide, said that the snakes will also climb up a neighboring tree and drop down to lower branches on the nest tree in order to get access their dinner.
Can you tell this was the spring feed rainbow river? Love the color of the waters.
Location, location, location. Turtle village.
Today's adventure was going to visit the Manatees. Captain Mike may have been over qualified as a tour boat captain. He was a research marine biologist and very informative and protective of the Manatees and the environment. All well and good but we later found out that one of rules about not using Fins in the water was not company policy. He was all about protecting the water from being stirred up. After leaving our fins on the boat, Liz and I both noticed that many of the other snorkelers we saw off other tour boats were using fins and well, it was hard to swim up the small channel into the Three Sisters Spring without them. Things we learn.....
After several false starts, while Captain Mike tried to locate Manatees at two other smaller area springs, he gave up and took us to where all the other folks had already headed for. The sanctuary for the Manatees is roped off and you can only swim up to the lines. Today the Manatees had already decided to snuggle down in the sanctuary and it was apparent that from experience with all the tourist, boats, swimmers and kayakers, the Manatees know exactly were the boundary ropes are.
The water back in the Springs area was the clearest. There were no Manatees up in the springs by the tie we got there but we were told (by Captain Mike) that there were over a dozen early this morning during the 6:15 AM tour.
Swimming above you can see the spring waters flowing from the bottom.
Looking into one of the springs.
Here they come.
And here they are again.
And there they go....
And there go the people in our group. There were eleven of us all together, but we lucked out and the small kids scheduled for the 9:15 tour loaded up on a different van and then a different boat than us. The again, they didn't have Captain Mike and probably got to wear their fins.....just saying.
She wins for the best camera.
Hey, lady were you looking at me?
That is enough for now, I am heading back beyond the buoys and safety lines....bye, bye.