Site Meter

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Today Sophie and I took a drive up to Blue Spring State Park to see the manatees.

It's been chilly these past few days, with the night-time temperatures dropping to around freezing. And when it gets cold, the manatees leave the St John's River and swim up the spring, where the water is a constant 72 degrees, winter or summer.

Blue Spring is one of my favourite places here. The water is so clear that one can see fish swimming, and the sandy bottom of the river. In summer, one can swim upstream to the spring source. If you have goggles and a snorkel, it's amazing to see all the fish swimming around you. There are turtles, too, and a huge variety of birdlife. And of course, in winter, the manatees. (Though one can't swim with the manatees; they would find it too stressful). There's a boardwalk up the river to the spring; it's green and still and calm.

Here's the boardwalk.
A mother manatee with her baby. Manatees nurse their babies for over a year, and the babies stay with their mothers till they're around two years old.
A manatee ... you can see how clear the water is. I like the way the ripples on the surface of the water give this photo an Impressionist feel.
Portrait of Sophie.

The spring was full of manatees this morning. They looked almost like ghosts, rolling and drifting in the water. The air was clear and fresh and the blue sky and water and green palm trees looked almost magical. There weren't many people there, and those who were, seemed to be soaking up the peace and tranquillity just as we were.

Then the school buses arrived, complete with screeching and shoving and "walk in line Kyle!" "No, Clay, not in the water." "Because I said so Amber, now you just quit it or you can get right back in that bus." It was just like a Joyce Grenfell skit. So we left. Fortunately, we were almost ready to go anyhow.

So we had a good morning. Should be a nice evening too. We're about to leave for climbing (kids have practice tonight), and I have a spicy bean dish in the crockpot, which will be ready to eat when we get home. Better get Sophie in; she and the neighbourhood kids are running amok on the trampoline. So far it's all happy but I can see them going all feral and Lord of the Flies if left to their own devices for too long.

No comments: