Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blue Springs Manatees

The day after Bob and Misty arrived in Florida, we drove over to see the Quilt Shop of Deland and took a surprise trip to Orange City to Blue Springs State Park.  I didn’t tell them we were going to see manatees, but when we entered the gate, there was a big sign with a silhouette of a manatee on it.  On the door by the ranger was a sign, “199 spotted today.”  So much for that surprise!  We got out and walked around, first down to the boat dock on the St. John side of the log boom that keeps boats out of Blue Springs.  Man, that water is blue!  The middle pic is Anhingas.  They wouldn’t spread their wings out to dry.  Click on any pic for a close up detail and then back to return.


Misty and Bob were impressed by their first up close look at a Live Oak.

Misty & Bob

Misty and me at the first viewing platform.

Misty & Kathy

And now for the reason we went.   Here’s our very first manatee.  All by himself, but he was not alone!

Manatee 1

The first pic is one cruising by and the other pics are of groups of them, ten or more.  The last pic shows one sticking his nose up for a snort of air.


This pic shows our first alligator lounging in the shade on the shore.  Looked kind of like a log, but a guy there kept insisting it was a gator.  Why he was in the shade, who knows, but looking at pic on monitor Russel knew what it was without being told.

Gator 1

Our second gator was lounging on a log in the sun.  Looking at the pic close up, the pattern on his back is clear.

Gator 2 

Here’s a pic of the fishies that swim by the hundreds in the springs.  Not sure if they were catfish or not.


This old fella was snuggled up next to a log right next to the shore.  On the close up, you can see the scars on his back from close encounters with boat props, the leading cause of manatee deaths.

Up Close

Have to tell a funny story on Misty’s sister.  When they visited Sanibel in 2009, they paid $50 a head for a boat tour to view wildlife, including manatees.  Nada.  I took Misty and Bob to Blue Springs and we saw a hundred manatees and some gators for the park entrance fee of less than $10 a car.  Of course, the manatees aren’t there all year round.  They gather in this spring every winter as the temp stays at 72 degrees, a lot warmer than the St. John River.  Here’s a pic of an information sign.  Click on it to read it.


That’s it for our trip to see manatees.  Misty and Bob were thrilled to pieces.  Still need to blog Castillo San Marco and Ponce Lighthouse.

Thanks for stopping by.  As always, comments are welcome.

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Deelite said...

Kathy, these pics of the manatees are just wonderful. We were so lucky to be there at the right time to see them all gathered at the river. I could have stayed there all day watching these lovely guys swim and take care of their babies.
Thanks for being such a wonderful photographer and tour guide. You made our trip so special.

~* Tracy *~ said...

What a wonderful adventure. That would have been so special to see the manatees :) I really enjoyed reading about your trip and all the wonderful photos.