It's about time.

Many of you that can relate to this. Working long hours at your career. Raising your families. Buying a home and paying all the bills related to being homeowners and parents. We're now retired and don't need all that work and expense. Now "It's about time" to follow our dreams.

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Swimming with the Manatees Again.



Our Location today is Crystal River, Florida.

We all know the feeling of a pretravel night where we just can’t stay asleep because our minds just keep flashing from one thing to another whether or not it has anything to do with the trip. Even though we weren’t taking the trailer when we attended the Snowbird Extravaganza on Tuesday that’s how I slept Monday night. I got a good night of sleep on Tuesday night because I was dead tired. Since we had planned to swim with the Manatees again today guess how I slept as I’m having difficulty keeping my eyes open enough to write this post.
Kathy's Canon PowerShot D10 camera. Takes pictures underwater up to 35 feet deep.
I got up at 7:30 and had started making breakfast for us when Kathy followed me ten minutes later. What we saw on the Weather Network was not encouraging as the temperature would be the same as last year when we made this swim last March 41 F (5 C). The only difference is that we would be out in the rain until later this afternoon.
 
 
Most would think that swimming (floating) at those low temperatures is very strange but we will be swimming in the warm spring fed waters of the Three Sisters Springs with the Manatees. The water temperature itself is 72 F (22 C) year round and as long as you stay in the water you remain warm. Manatees being warm blooded mammals move to the warm waters of the inland coast when the water temps of the gulf and ocean drop below 68 F (20 C) so the cooler it is the more Manatees are present. This makes for a better encounter with them.
 
We were at Pete’s Pier by 9:00 just on time for the earlier tour to be returning in a very foggy environment that would last the rest of the day. Kathy and I chuckled as everyone made a beeline for the warmth of the office to warm up. We were even more amused to hear that no one from that trip had swam (floated) with the Manatees.
There were so many Manatee in the area you could see them from inside the boat.
A cute loving face of a young Manatee.
After we watched the prerequisite video of how to properly interact with the Manatee on our swim Kathy and I suited up while the six other members of our group finished watching the video segment they had missed. Outside on the Pontoon craft the Safety procedures were discussed and again we were surprised to hear we would be the only ones from our group that would be actually swimming (floating) with the Manatees.
You can see quite a number of Manatee in the clear water outside the  restricted swim zone.
Manatee surfacing for air.
Arriving at the Three Sisters Spring there were already five other swimming (floating) tours on location with people wanting to swim (float) with the Manatees. (Today’s fly over count was 659 Manatees in our area alone.) After we were anchored Kathy and I started doing what we came to do while the rest of the group watched. I just can’t float so the only thing I do is stand or crouch in the water and move extremely slow to avoid stirring the sediment from the bottom as I take pictures. Unfortunately people from one of the other tours were really kicking things up and it showed in many of my pictures as the water was filled with debris floating in the water. Because of the large number of Manatee present as well as all the swimmers it made it impossible for me to get to deeper water today to get full body pictures.
Those marks on the back of the Manatee are from collisions with watercraft.
See the silt in the picture someone has kicked up.
After an hour and a half Kathy and I called it quits and returned on board to get changed. The others from our group couldn’t understand how we could be in the water because they were frozen just being on the boat. Again the water was warmer than the air and until we got out of the water we were warm. Unfortunately the change room on the boat was not heated so we quickly cooled off and really appreciated the warm office when we got back to port.

Curious of why I was kneeling there and what the camera is.
Me on the left, Manatee on right squeezing by me and other swimmers.
It was nearly 1:00 when we left so we stopped for lunch at Grannies Country Cookin'. The warm food and hot coffee started the slow process of warming our body temperatures. We did have to stand waiting for a seat for ten minutes but it was worth it. We both had another breakfast and the service was fast & courteous and the food was excellent at reasonable prices. Unfortunately by this time I was cold enough not to bring the camera in with us.
Manatee at rest. Rules are Do Not Disturb!
This one smiled for the camera while getting a breath of fresh air.
While inside we were talking excitedly but low keyed about the experience we just had. The couple at the table next to us had just moved to Florida so they could see the Manatees and hadn’t heard they could swim with them. When we left the restaurant they were making plans to do just that.
Kathy and I walked around a few stores before finally walking around Walmart so we could warm up. We also bought a precooked chicken before we left so when we got back to the trailer we had supper. I even had to take a half hour nap just so I could write this post. It was a terrific day today and one we will remember for a long time.
Chicken, Amish Potato Salad and Greek Salad.
Here’s hoping we both sleep tonight and the temperatures start warming back to normal. Thanks for following along and feel free to leave a comment. Be Safe and Enjoy!

It’s about time.

Krackers

The World's Great Proverbs

A bleating sheep loses a bite.

8 comments:

  1. Hi, just found your blog via the Bayfield Bunch! We are currently at a friends orange grove on Lake McLeod, FL waiting for a new landing gear motor for our 5er. Then to Highlands Hammock SP til 2/9 to Fort Ogden to RV-Dreamers BoonDock rally at Fort Ogden. Will you be attending? Our blog is www.phunnyfarm.blogspot.com
    Chuck n Geri n K9kids .

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  2. WOW.. your day sure was eventful! So many huge gentle creatures trying to stay warm.... I know how they feel!

    Steve got a walmart rotisserie chicken yesterday for our supper too! they are soooo good!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    Karen and Steve
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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  3. Looking forward to swimming with the Manatees myself someday. Nice lunch too. Curt

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  4. Those are some good adventures you had today! And you didn't let the weather rob you of a good time either!

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  5. Swimming with the Manatees is on my "bucket list". Sounds like you had a great time even though some did kick up the water.

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  6. We always found the manatee could do a pretty good job of silting up the water too. You did a good job with the pictures despite the crowds and poor visibility. Were you able to swim into the spring area, or is it still closed?

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  7. Another fun adventure, but think the cool air would have changed our minds, like it did the last time.

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