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Crystal River Manatees

Posted by Susanna On February - 17 - 2011

Have you ever snorkeled with Manatees? Mostly it is actually forbidden. When I visited Australia I had done a cruise at Monkey Mia and seen them from above. Then of course in the aquarium in Sarasota and in Blue Springs where you can watch them from the shore. But in Crystal River you can actually go and snorkel with them. There are hundred and hundreds of manatees in that area migrating over winter time and even in summer a few stay all year around. There big but gentle. Some recently hurt manatees carry a special sensor buoy with them so the park ranger can follow their healing progress and their migration. The water is nice but still chilly and one is officially not allowed to dive down. Behind a designate area the manatees can relax and snorkelers are not allowed to enter. But the manatees don’t leave their designate protected area when to many people are around and especially when they move around like hippos barely are able to hold themselves in a horizontal position on the water. I have to admit that this is difficult since the water is fresh water and the current is kind of strong. It was amazing to see these beautiful animals but so annoying to bump all the time in others which snorkel or kayak. I still can recommend that place if you wish to have a once in a lifetime experience. Who knows how long it will be possible to be that close to these gentle giants.People already discussing to stop the contact with the animals via snorkeling since there every now and then still people who abuse the manatees and separate calves from their mothers. Believe it or not, the place with the spring where the manatee migrate had belonged to a private person which wanted to fill the river and spring up with sand to build condos! Ridiculous it is such a magical place and thanks god the town and private investors bought it to save its beauty as one of the unique places on earth.

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Blue Springs

Posted by Susanna On February - 9 - 2011

Since yesterday I am in Orlando at friend Travis place. He lives at a lake which is nice but right now it is so freezing. I feel the temperature difference since I came from the south so much. Today I had to get up fairly early around 5:30am so I could observe the manatees at Blue Springs. It was amazing kind of magical as the mist rose from the warmer spring river which was crystal clear. Everywhere trees from which moss hangs down. I never had seen that before only in Florida so far. The gentle giants moved slowly in the water. Alone or mothers and their calves. From November trough March they rather stay in the warmer spring area than at the colder waters of the St. Johns River. I noticed the some of the manatee had scars from boats on their back which is the biggest threat for them. Still I can’t wait until I will finally snorkel with them. So far I had only heard that that is possible in Crystal river and who knows for how long since some stupid people tease and hurt these animals for fun while snorkeling. Very sad and I hope these people start very soon to learn how to live in respect with our brothers the animals on that one given earth. While watching them I noticed a few bald eagles on the other side of the river. This was a very new experience. I had never ever seen these majestic birds in their natural habitat before. Beautiful…
On the way back to the house we Travis showed me the ‘Senator tree’ known to be the oldest in Florida and one of the oldest in North America. It stood there with it”s sister tree ‘Lady Liberty’ more than 2000years! Imagine what these trees had experienced. They used to be landmarks for the native Americans and the senator had survived a hurricane which had taken off a big part of its original seize. But still they were impressive.
“As of 1993, The Senator is estimated to be 3,400-3,500 years old, the 5th oldest tree in the world. The tree’s volume had previously been estimated at 4,300 cubic feet (120 m), but a 2006 survey by Will Blozan of the Native Tree Society has measured the volume at well over 5,100 cubic feet (140 m), making The Senator not only the largest Bald Cypress in the United States, but also the largest tree of any species east of the Mississippi River.”
I love old trees.
Latest after that I felt already a bit sick and a migraine… And after visiting some friends of Travis I went straight for a 15hours sleep… Just needed it!

Blue Springs

Senator tree

Orlando bulldogs

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Jungle rain

Posted by Susanna On December - 21 - 2010

This day was basically almost only spent in the canoe. We used the motor again because we went up the river. A little cooking break was made at a hose in the jungle were a single old indigenous couple and their numerous dogs live. Amazing how these people just live there mostly from their land and the forest. The old man showed us some natural seed was makes red paint and later he wanted a cigarette – not for smoking. If a certain insect stings him he burns out the would with a cigarette. We left after lunch and a few hours later it suddenly started to rain… but heavy rain. We had not even time for protecting us with the raincoats. In the beginning I found that rain extremely refreshing. But then the wind blew and the sky started to get darker… I realized that there will be no sun anymore for today and this clothes will stay wet. While feeling wet and uncomfortable – and dreaming of a hot shower – something swam in the river close to the canoe. It was a tortoise which was caught quickly. The indigenous man Don Cesar wanted to keep it. I still hope he brought it for his kids to play with and not for a family meal. Finally the camp was erected and as soon as the fire was burning I slowly became warm again. This time we were sleeping on the beach and that was the last night in the wilderness. The next day I will be sleep in a bed again.

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From Sepahua to Atalaya

Posted by admin On July - 9 - 2009
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“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animal are treated. ”
by Mahatma Gandhi
 

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