"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

April 23, 2014

April 22 – Blue Spring State Park

St. John’s River – Anchorage

“Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.” —Heinrich Zimmer

One of the things I have been looking forward to on this cruise is getting to explore some of the beautiful clear springs along the St. John’s River. Today we had the chance to visit our first one. We cruised up river to a beautiful anchorage just past the entrance to the Blue Spring park. It’s in an oxbow in the river and ranks as one of the top five anchorages we’ve stayed in since we started cruising…it’s amazingly pretty and remote. No river traffic, no lights, no sounds except the sounds of nature, surrounded by beautiful trees draped in Spanish moss.

After enjoying a nice lunch on the flybridge we took the dinghy to Blue Spring State Park. The spring is a designated Manatee Refuge and is the winter home of the West Indian Manatees that live in the St. John’s River. A park ranger told us that they counted over 400 manatees in the spring this past winter. The springs are closed to water activities from November to March to keep the manatees safe, but visitors can view them from the boardwalks and overlooks along the spring run. During warmer months the springs crystal clear, 73 degree water offer swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, tubing and kayaking. There is also a limited underwater cave system that can be explored by divers. We were lucky today to see one manatee in the spring run…it was fun seeing him in the clear water. I can only imagine how it would be to see the river full of them in the winter. What a sight!

I brought my snorkeling gear with me, because I knew I couldn’t pass up swimming in this crystal clear water. After walking the length of the spring run and doing a little exploring I had the change to swim into the spring pool and then down part of the spring run. After I had gotten out of the water we spotted a small alligator…poor thing was probably scared to death when the tubers saw it and started screaming…kind of glad I was sitting on the over look by then.

This evening we took the dinghy into the Snake Creek…a small, very small, tributary to the St. John’s River. Like it’s name, it snaked its way around part of Hontoon Island. We had a chance to see a lot of birds, turtles and a few alligators. It was a wonderful day…blue skies, great temperature and amazing scenery. 

Blue Spring State Park
The manatee we saw
Part of the boardwalk along the spring run
Getting ready to take the dive into the cool water. My new rash guide kept me very warm
The Blue Spring pool
Tubers on the spring run...the little spot in the center of the picture is the alligator.
Exploring the swamp on the Snake Creek

1 comment:

  1. WOW...what a great day! So glad you guys are enjoying yourself. GREAT PICTURES!
    Barbara & David