Seeking out the Manatees

_DSC9293LRA few years ago while I was in Florida, I read an article on Blue Spring State Park, which has many wonderful amenities, one of which includes a hot spring.  Blue Spring is the largest spring on the St. John’s River and deposits an amazing 165 million gallons per day.  The temperature of the water is a consistent 72 degrees year round.  One of the other, (and more fascinating to me), is that from mid-November through mid-March, manatees migrate to the spring because of the warm water.  

_DSC9299LRWe tried to visit the park on President’s day, (Monday, February 16), and the line to get into the parking lot was so long, we gave up and decided to return on another day when it wasn’t so crowed.  We went on Wednesday, February 18 in the morning, and the park wasn’t very crowded at all.  The weather in Central Florida has been quite chilly, so the manatee count was 207 on that day.  I had never seen so many manatees in one place before.  It was a spectacular sight.  I captured some great photos of the manatees.

_DSC9321LRWhile the manatees are present, no swimming or scuba diving is allowed.  However, once the manatees leave in mid-March, the water is open to the public and look at what a spectacular body of water it is.  It is so clear you can see the manatees and other fish swimming below the surface.

_DSC9325LRI loved seeing the manatees’s face in this photo.

_DSC9326LRAnd in this photo.  Manatees are very slow moving, and as a result, many of them are struck and injured or killed by power boats.  I am glad I can view and photograph them in this protected environment.

Blue Spring also has 46 camping sites, and six cabins.  However, they are very difficult to secure, especially during manatee season.

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IMG_8417LR _DSC9334LROf course, where there is warm, fresh water, there are also gators.  At least you can see them coming 🙂

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