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ScouseLeeM on Tour
3rd Nov 2017 - 5th Nov 2017
Swimming with Manatees - Crystal Lakes & Homosassa

A bonus stop of the highest order, well worth anyones time if in Florida. In fact, even if not in Florida, worth flying there just to do this..

Never a bucket list item, but in retrospect it should have been. Heading out early morning after a safety/interaction briefing, we hit the river and spotted our first manatees within 2 minutes. Imediately out of the boat, we were face to face with 4 of them, and I spent 10 minutes swimming with one 2000 pound specimen upstream - that could make a whole lot of burgers, wonder what they taste like..with a side of tater totts, naturally.

Incredibly cute, docile and engaging, this was awe inspiring. The main river water was a little chalky, limiting the quality of photos, but we could see them very clearly as long as we stayed close. Next we were taken into the clearer water at the springs, where we got to interact with another adult, followed by a mum and her very cute baby.

At this time of year, the manatees have just started returning to Crystal Lakes. Weather was beautiful, and way outside peak tourist season, so a perfect time to visit. In summer, you would be lucky to even see one manatee here, and if you come when manatees are here literally in their hundreds, huddling together around the springs for warmth (February), it is the middle of winter - so no sunbathing and pretty bloody chilly, even for us Brits.

However, having done this once, if I'm ever around  in the US one February, I think I have to return and do this again when they are here en mass. Quite a sight to behold...

Feeling fulfilled, we gorged on an enormous beakfast at a Southern diner, where I got to 'enjoy' some grits, recommended by the locals. Well thank god I doused them in butter and could mix them with a cheese omlette, because as far as I'm concrened, I think they confused  'gr' with 'sh'...never again. After this, we whiled away a few hours at Homosassa, seeing even more manatees, alligators, snakes, foxes, wolves, all American bald eagles, black bears, and quite bizarrely, an African hippo. Couldn't really fathom that one out, but enjoyable none the less.

With that, work beckons. A few more American shannanigans to come at Niagra and Atlantic City shortly, then its time to hit Europe and get some trips done before Brexit well and truly screws everything up - think I can just about bear the thought of work for a month or so..



Next: Leichtenstein, Zurich, Rapperswil
Previous: San Antonio & St Louis


Diary Photos
4th Nov 2017  Smile
Smile

4th Nov 2017  First Manatee sighting
First Manatee sighting

4th Nov 2017  Manatee
Manatee

4th Nov 2017  Manatee
Manatee

4th Nov 2017  Manatee
Manatee

4th Nov 2017  Manatee
Manatee

4th Nov 2017  Manatee
Manatee

4th Nov 2017  Mom & Baby Manatee
Mom & Baby Manatee

4th Nov 2017  Ignore at your peril...
Ignore at your peril...

4th Nov 2017  Manatees
Manatees

4th Nov 2017  Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

4th Nov 2017  Baby gator
Baby gator

4th Nov 2017  Bobcat
Bobcat

4th Nov 2017  Pelican
Pelican

4th Nov 2017  Sleeping bear
Sleeping bear

4th Nov 2017  Osprey
Osprey

4th Nov 2017  Bald Eagles
Bald Eagles

4th Nov 2017  Black vulture
Black vulture

4th Nov 2017  Flamingos
Flamingos

4th Nov 2017  Sleeping fox
Sleeping fox

4th Nov 2017  Wolf
Wolf

4th Nov 2017  Big bad gator
Big bad gator

4th Nov 2017  Homosassa hippo
Homosassa hippo

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