Wednesday, February 24, 2016

For our third week, we are off to the St John's River in central Florida. This is one of few rivers that flow north. We hired a pontoon boat for the week and had friends, Trudy and Jim join us. Trudy very kindly agreed to be our cook, Jim our anchorman, me chief bottle washer  and Gary our chief captain.
Our first trip in the boat was to Blue Springs, Winter home of the manatee. Gary and I had been twice before but our friends had never been so it was a must on our schedule. The springs are a constant 72 degrees and because manatees cannot tolerate water temps 65 degrees and under, the springs were a safe haven for them. The day was cool but there were more manatees than we had ever seen before.
We saw many calves, several of them feeding underneath the front flippers of their mothers.
 The springs were quite shallow and clear. However, if you walked to the source you came to where the spring entered the spring - a huge chasm in the water. Scuba divers were allowed into the chasm to explore. I would love to learn to scuba dive but would not like to go into chasms or caves,

The next morning the boat was surrounded by turkey vultures resting in the trees, This is a very large bird with a bald head for sticking in the carcasses of carrion.

I had not taken a shower that morning and wondered if they were smelling me!!!!!
The day was very cool and Trudie dressed for the weather:

The weather warmed up later in the day, thank-goodness. We saw many lovely reflections and it was difficult to decide which ones to put in the blog. However, these are the ones I chose.

The above one was just the reflection not of the object being reflected. The next photo shows the complete picture.

On our journey to our next mooring we saw a sand hill crane.
This is a very large migratory bird with a very loud, raucous call that is distinguishable from any other bird.
The day ended with a magnificent sunset. Out of the 75 photos I took just of the sunset, I chose the following:

 Here is Chef Trudie in our kitchen preparing one of the lovely meals she made for us.
 I liked the above photo due to 2 species standing so close to each other w/o threatening each other.
The above photo shows two men fishing for tilapia using a bow and arrow. Apparently, per Gary he did spear a fish and landed it in his boat. The fish was a keeper size so these men had a nice fish dinner to look forward to.
The next photo shows fish beds at the Glenn Springs State Park. The water was blue and crystal clear. You could see the bottom of the springs and fish swimming about. The fish apparently wiggle in the sand to lay eggs and leave behind bald areas free of vegetation.
 I haven't shown many birds so here is my first heron waiting for his fish to swim by,

The ospreys below had a huge nest nearby but preferred to watch for fish on the manatee zone sign.

Cormorants sitting side by side. They have the loveliest color of eyes - turquoise.
 And, of course, my favorite bird - the pelican.

As we traveled down the river we saw two pontoon boats. One had a boat on top, the other an MG car. We guess the owner had the car on the boat for winter storage and in case the river flooded.

 OK, I must show my photos of a pair of bald eagles. What a majestic bird. Thank-goodness Congress never voted the Turkey as our national bird.

 I have always loved to fish (and so did Jim) so after getting my Florida fishing licence I dabbled at catching dinner. I caught the boat, the railing, my jacket and my finger before catching a nice size blue gill. Jim said he was a keeper but neither of us caught another one so we let it go.
I liked the photo below of the ibis.

 And this one's reflection with the red trees. None of us knew what the red trees where so if you know, let me know.
We saw several  storks along the river. These were at a marina waiting for homecoming fishermen to throw them some fish. Do you think if storks are dating it is called "storking".

This young man was ready to set of on a fishing expedition. There was hardly any room in the canoe for him and he could not stand up w/o overturning the canoe.
 The photo below shows a boat ramp for jet skis. You just ride your jet ski straight onto it and voila, it is parked, safe and dry.
I like the photo below due to the shimmer on the water.
Whilst at one mooring we saw some turkeys and they were the biggest we all had ever seen. Gobble, gobble, gobble.
This gentleman was fishing and had an audience waiting for him to catch a fish (a great white heron and an egret).
 Finally, you have heard the expression putting your foot in your mouth. Well, Trudie can do this literally. I cannot even get my foot to my knees so she has to be quite flexible.

Next blog, Coconut Creek.

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