Beauty & the Beast

While my family was visiting me this weekend, we went to Blue Springs State Park.  Yes, yes, I know, I’m supposed to post within 24 hours of picture taking, but please, loyal reader, please forgive me.  By the time I had time to post, I just had to sleep.  I see some rule changing in my future.  Anyway, back to the park.  If you’ve been following me any length of time, you know that I know a little bit about parks in Florida, so when I say that this was my favorite one, you know that it was good.

Just look at this place!  Okay, yeah, you’ve seen a few trees and some Florida landscapes before.  I’ve even shown you a spring or two, so you know about that crystal clear water with its wonderful blue-green tint.  I suppose it would be possible to get bored with such things, after a long enough time.  But please, bear with me and let me show you this one.

Oak trees reach toward the water, veiled in Spanish moss, sharing the banks with the palm trees.   The greens and blues mingle together in a stunning show of beauty.  To make it even better, there were very few mosquitoes out yesterday.

It would be enough to enjoy these views and to walk along the banks of the gorgeous springs, but to make it even better, Blue Springs is the winter home to many of the areas manatees.  I expected it to be a little difficult to see them, and thought that they might hide from view or that there wouldn’t really be that many.  I was so, so wrong.  Yes, you read that right, I was WRONG.  If you look closely at the photo above, you can see one in the murky water.

They were everywhere.  The very first overlook we went out to had one floating right next to it, which I snapped photos of because I was afraid it would be the only one.  It was shady, and I knew they wouldn’t be good, but I had to do it anyway.  You, however, will not see those photos.  There were way too many good ones to waste my time on the bad.

Like this one.  Mama manatee and her baby, which I think is called a calf, swimming side by side.

Or a family of manatees swimming in the sunshine, then having a bit of a squabble.  It didn’t last long; within seconds they were back to swimming along peacefully.

The manatees weren’t the only things to see on the springs.  There were many anhingas, out sunning themselves there as well.  My son insists some of these birds are cormorants, but cormorants tend to stay in the salt water, so I dont believe him.  If I am wrong, I suspect someone will let me know.

Some of you have marveled at my willingness to approach a gator and take photos of it.  Well, most of the gators I have encountered have been relatively small and sleepy.  This guy was neither, and I was not at all upset that he stayed on the other side of the spring.  He was by far the biggest gator I have seen in Florida, and he made sure to let everyone know he was ready to eat.  Look at the teeth on that guy!  But the turtles didn’t seem to care in the least.

Big gator, little gator, what begins with G?  Grinning gator daddy and his gator baby, too.  Not that the smaller one is really a baby, but he is much smaller.

Can you stand one last gator shot?  Through the trees, just chilling out in the water.

The manatees stay around here from about October to March, and while they’re in the springs, there’s no swimming allowed.  Once they’re gone, the spring is open again for swimming, and just like all the springs around here, it’s always about 72 degrees.  Next time you plan a trip to Florida, go to the beach and have fun there, but make sure you get to at least one of the springs while you’re here.  


2 thoughts on “Beauty & the Beast

    • Has it really been so long since I’ve logged in? Sorry about the belated response! The park was one of the best I’ve been to. Come on down & do some manatee hunting!

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