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

April 30, 2014

April 29 - Welaka, FL

Bryant's Wharf Public Dock

“We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

We only had a little rain last night, but the wind never laid down, and we bounced and rocked all night long. After breakfast we were both ready to get off the big boat and go for a ride in the dinghy. The four-mile run up the Salt Springs Creek was a little different than the other creeks we've explored. This creek is wide, has higher banks and is lined in marsh grass and has fewer trees close to the water...definitely different but still pretty. Since it was early and the middle of the week, we had the springs to ourselves…or should I say to my self, since I was the only one that went swimming. The springs and the park are beautiful and I'm sure it's packed here on a warm summer day. The water was refreshing and I had fun looking into the spring vents and watching the fish.

Salt Springs, along with Juniper Springs and Silver Glen Springs are recreation areas in the Ocala National Forest. The waters of Salt Springs rise from vertical cracks from deep within the earth and stay at a constant 74 degrees. The spring gets its name from the presence of potassium, magnesium and sodium salts in the water. The Salt Springs has several spring vents in a large shallow spring pool, which forms the headwater of the 4-mile long Salt Springs Run (Creek). It has been said that Salt Springs is the legendary "Fountain of Youth". Scientists have discovered that certain minerals and trace elements that are available only in unrefined ground water can slow aging, and the abundance and variety of helpful minerals in the waters at Salt Springs can be found nowhere else in the United States.​ Maybe I'll be looking younger now that I've swum in the "Fountain of Youth"!

There are predictions of thunderstorms and increasing rain chances for the next few days, so after enjoying the park we decided it was time to move the boat out of Lake George. It was a short trip to the city dock in Welaka with little excitement, except for our eagle spotting. This is the first time we've ever seen an eagle on a channel marker...we were eye to eye with this amazing bird. He finally flew off as the main part of the boat passed the marker. It was a once in a lifetime encounter...glad I had my camera ready. We may stay in Welaka a few days again while this weather system passes. There are a few places we'd like to explore around here...hopefully we can do that tomorrow before the rain arrives.

Views of the Salt Springs Creek
Salt Springs Recreations Area
Salt Springs pool
Going for a swim
Underwater view of one of the spring vents
Looking down into one of the spring vents
What an amazing sight...it was like he was posing for us.

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