Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A slow Sunday - an AMAZING Monday

Sunday:Fort Island Gulf Beach, Crystal River, Florida  2 stars
Monday Weeki Wachee Springs River Trip  10 stars!

Sunday was a lazy day.  We got a late start but temps were supposed to hit 90 so we headed off to Fort Island Gulf Beach in Crystal River for some more Gulf breezes and swimming.   After the fabulous Fort De Soto beach in St. Petersburg, this 1000 foot beach was a disappointment.  It was just a little too sculpted and the water lapping up had a lot of foam and was much more still than the Gulf waters at De Soto.   On the road leading to the beach we passed a nuclear power plant so I was a bit leery of getting in the water.   The beach bathhouse roof was covered with gulls.  And we also saw Black Skimmers and Sandwich Terns.  None of the birds were wading.  What do they know that we don't?  :-)  We stayed an hour or so.  I read in my beach chair and David took pictures of the place and its various visitors.  So thanks to him for all the pictures. 

View looking out from under our SPF 50 umbrella :-)  (the world's finest)

Closer shot of feathered and footed beach goers

Bathhouse roof residents

Up close

Black Skimmers

We thought we had plenty of time to get to the visitor Center for the Crystal River Preserve before it closed but when we got there, we found that due to budget cut backs it is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  So we went to the Crystal River Archeological State Park and it had JUST closed right before we arrived.  It looks like the place we should have come instead of to the beach.  But who knew?

It’s a 61 acre National Historic Site composed of Pre Columbian Native American Burial Mounds, Temple Platform Mounds, a plaza and a substantial Midden.  This 6 mound site is thought to be one of the most continuously occupied sites in Florida and for 1600 years was an imposing ceremonial center.   Really sorry we missed this and would put it as a definite on our list for returning to this area.   As will be our kayak trip that we took today.

I mentioned Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and its famous mermaids in a previous entry but today it was its famous springs that held us captive.   We went to the park and signed up with Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Paddling Adventures to park our car and put our kayaks in at the spring's head. $5 per boat and another $5 per person or $10 per boat and person if you want them to shuttle you back.    Best $15 we’ve spent on this trip for sure.

These springs and the river they generate are crystal clear and I do mean crystal clear.  All of the things that may look like they are floating on top of the water here are actually on the bottom.  

Check out the fish going by under my paddle.

This turtle wasn't nearly as excited as I was about all of this.

We stopped for lunch on a white sand bar  where the kayaks are on the sand and I'm standing in the water but it's so clear you can hardly tell the difference.

While I was eating with my foot in the water the fish were checking out my feet

As we paddled on I saw these guys right over my head and wondered if it was a bad omen.

Possibly a domestic dispute?

We have so many more of these beautiful waters but I'll spare you and get on to the even more amazing part of the trip.  We went around yet another curve in the river

I saw what I thought was an alligator lower its head beneath the water.  I paddled a safe distance away but by him and this is what I saw.  Do you recognize it in these amazingly clear waters?

And then.........there were two

Up for air - isn't that the cutest nose you've ever seen?  :-)

I could have stayed for hours just watching them and being in their presence but we had a shuttle to catch unfortunately so on we went.

The springs stayed clear all 8 miles but the last mile was populated on one side by house after house after house.  Not that I blame them for wanting to look out on these waters.  But it did change the atmosphere.

Here are a couple of signs I enjoyed on various docks in the "residential" part of the river.

There were various versions of this sign all around and yet the manatee mother we saw had scars on her back from propeller blades and I cannot understand why boats with motors are allowed on any rivers in which manatees winter.  Most of those rivers are very shallow and if you can't paddle, in my opinion, you should be out of luck.

It is an 8 mile paddle down to Rogers Park where they will pick you up and shuttle you back to your car.  They say it takes 2.5 to 3 hours to do but we were rushed toward the end in 4 hours so my advice is, be there at 9am sharp and use the entire 6 hours to go down and enjoy this magnificent natural area.

I know it's hard to tell from this but we had a GREAT day!!!   Don't miss this if you are coming up the gulf coast.    One last picture.......


  1. Definitely a 10! The Flow-bee cut looks good. We are enjoying your travels and look forward to checking out some of these places when our time comes.


  2. Yes, we can tell the Kayak trip was a HIGHLIGHT!!
    Thanks for taking us there and it is definitely on our to do list in Florida. The pictures look great, but nothing can compare to actually being there, for sure :o)

  3. I just love the manatees... have put this spot as a must do for our future list


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