Post by Loretta
The forecast was for sunny skies, low 70’s, and not too windy, which sounded like the perfect day to go kayaking with the manatees! The weather has been around mid to high 60’s with a brisk wind. Seventy’s are better.
After a somewhat leisurely morning of breakfast and a quick clean up, we headed out the door. Our destination is
in the city of Hunter
Springs Park Crystal River, Florida,
which is about an hour drive.
We visited the area the day before to get an idea about the best place to launch the kayaks for free. And
was it. There was a small parking area,
picnic tables, restrooms, benches overlooking the water, and a kayak
|Clear water of Hunter Springs|
From the launch, we paddled around for about a half hour in the little bay and spotted a few Scaup (ducks) and manatees. We were paddling with three or four commercial boats that take people on a tour to see manatees. We saw several manatees in this area. One small area was roped off and there were a group of people with masks and snorkels observing the manatees there.
Enough here. We paddled off toward Three Sisters Spring. We rounded Pete’s
and followed the steady stream of boats headed that way. It was less than a mile paddle, so it didn’t
take us long to get there.
|Headed to Three Sisters Spring|
Once there, ‘watchers’ were stationed to show people the right way to go into the Three Sisters Spring area. It was rather crowded. We were instructed to follow a roped off area and stay to the right going in. It was only about 50 feet going in and then it opened up into a small cove that was just enchanting!
|Cove at Three Sisters Spring|
And everywhere you looked into the water there were manatees.
It was pretty crowded with kayaks and people snorkeling, but it was such a unique experience!
|Snorkeler with Manatee Surfacing for Air|
The water was clear and the sun highlighted the manatees below the surface.
|Mama and Baby Manatee|
A few facts about manatees. Manatees weigh between 700-1200 pounds. The Florida Manatees can be found in the warm spring waters of
the winter. In summer they can be seen
in Alabama, Mississippi,
South Carolina, and a few other
coastal states. They are mammals and
must surface every few minutes to breathe.
Manatees reach sexual maturity about five years of age and carry their
young for about a year until birth. The
mother helps the new baby to the surface after birth and within an hour the
baby can surface by itself. They nurse
underwater. They are considered to be a
sea cow and eat only grasses along the river bottoms. When they lose a tooth, another grows to
replace it. They move slowly and are
often injured by boat motors and carry the scars to prove it. They are an endangered species, therefore,
many laws have been passed to protect them and bring awareness to the public.
We stayed at Three Sisters for about an hour and began the paddle back. On the way back, a manatee approached my kayak and it seemed it wanted to be my friend!
|My Manatee Friend Approaching|
I wanted to touch it, but I was afraid that would scare it away, so instead I took pictures. I got a couple of good ones.
|Will you be my friend?|
It surfaced several times while by my side and followed me for several yards. That was such a thrill for me! I have a manatee friend!
Back at the launch, there were many people trying to get out of the water, but they moved rather quickly, so we got out and packed up without a problem.
A quick stop at Publix for a few grocery items, then back to our home, sweet temporary home! Another wonderful day as Yahoo Ramblers!