Thursday, January 16, 2014
Chuck and I have been camping for several days at Blue Spring State Park near Deland Florida, just off Interstate 4 north of Orlando. We had cloudy days and rain our first 3 days here so yesterday was our first day to walk along the water and watch the gentle giants of Florida, the Manatee!
I need to apologize for no recent posts. Christmas holidays, visiting family and friends and a bad cold kept me away from the computer! I will catch up! But I want you to know where we are now. Blue Spring has a very nice campground nestled in the scrub oaks and palmettos giving lots of privacy between sites. The MotherShip is 32’ long and with our room extended we are 12’ wide. We fit…. but it was a narrow entrance!
Folks come here to see the manatee in their natural habitat. 4 miles of riverfront within the 2,483 acre park, 8 mile hiking trail, boat ramp/dock, 6cabins and a 51 site campground all with water and electric.
Blue Spring is one of three Florida State Parks where you might be lucky enough to see manatee! Yesterday there were plenty of them! The weather was predicted to get cold overnight and they were all leaving the freezing waters of the St. Johns River to refuge in the Blue Spring run where the water stays a stable 72 degrees! The best time to visit the park to see the manatee is from November through March.
Here, the manatee are entering the Blue Spring run from the St. John’s River. There are close to a dozen here, some hiding in the shadows of the oaks draped with Spanish moss.
These 3 are headed to the river. Manatee stay in Blue Spring at night for warmth and venture out into the river during the day, when the sun warms the water, to feed. Unfortunately this is a dangerous time for them. The only enemy the gentle manatee has is the speeding motorboat. Manatee surface often for air, making them susceptible to boat propellers that often wound them and even killing them. The white stripe you see on the top manatee is such a scar.
The scars on the mature mother manatee show clearly in the top 3 photos and the one below. There is a cage made to fit around the boat propellers but boaters refuse to use it.
The manatee must surface for air. This is a dangerous time for them.
It was quite breezy yesterday, causing a lot of ripples in the water and making it hard to get good manatee photographs to show you. I have been to this park at least a dozen times to visit the manatee, I have never seen as many in the spring run as I saw yesterday! It just wasn’t a good photo op day because of the rippling waters!
Chuck and I were here in 2010 and got some great manatee photos. You can see them on our blog from that visit by clicking this link:
The park had built several very good viewing areas out over the water so you get a good up close and personal look at the manatee. It was a bit crowded yesterday, but remember… this is prime manatee viewing weather and months! We weren’t disappointed!
Chuck meets a veteran of the Korean War and a conversation starts up! Chuck is a Viet Nam vet!
Back at the campground… ( see how nice our site is?) Chuck grills burgers. DoogieBowser and Radar wait patiently in the background hoping for a taste!
Beans with Publix made blue cheese burgers! YUM!
DoogieBowser sits up nicely, hoping we notice a will reward him. Both Radar and Doogie get to lick the empty plates!
Chuck bought himself a Christmas present this year! A folding papasan (?) chair from Camping World. As we get older, most of those sagging camp chairs get harder and harder to climb out of. This one one is very comfortable and folds up much smaller than you would think!
Please take a closer look at Blue Spring State Park as a possible Florida destination. We love it here. We will be here 2 more days and then we head to Kissimmee State Park near Lake Wales FL, we could only book a few days there so from there we head back down to Highlands Hammock State Park for another visit and possibly some job training!
As a treat for you, I found a live web cam for viewing the manatee at Blue Spring! Follow this link:
Here is a link to tell you more about the park:
Hope you enjoyed the visit to Blue Spring! We sure hope you get a chance to visit here is person someday! This is a very special park!
We love you all! From the MotherShip we are Geri, Chuck and DoogieBowser and Radar!