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

Henry David Thoreau

BIG Birthday!!

Sunday January 8, 2012
Silver River State Park Site #43
Silver Springs, Florida

 WARNING:  THIS POST IS HEAVILY PICTURE INTENSIVE!
Here’s the short version: 
hike, paddle, birds, alligator fish, monkeys  birds, fish
alligator having dinner, paddle, turtles, fish, birds, otters, monkeys
lunch, cake, hike, geocache, cake campfire.

 

Today was David’s birthday !!!

and he couldn’t have picked a better one
or better folks to celebrate it with. 
I’ll try to shorten this up a bit but it was a BIG day!!

When we were here at Silver River last year
we drove down to the put in at Ray’s
and paddled up to the springs 5 miles from there
but this year we wanted to try
the shorter paddle from the park’s boat launch.

We camped across from our friends Nancy and Bill Mills
with whom we will be having great times at several
Florida State Parks starting today.

 

Yesterday, before they arrived,
I’d determined that it was a 1.09 mile walk/pull
from the campsite.  We all have carts so
we were up and out by 7am,
walked the kayaks down to the boat launch

 

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got them set up and the carts stored

 

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and were already having a GREAT time!

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Foggy morning on the water.
Beautiful!

 

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And it only got better.

 

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We were being carefully monitored by the river patrol.

 

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And others along the banks

 

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and in the tree tops.

 

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This is a large troop of Rhesus Monkeys of which we
saw several bands.  Perhaps 25 or 30 monkeys.

From toddlers

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playing

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to the main man.

 

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They were grooming

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walking

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LOTS of monkeys.

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The monkeys were brought here in the 1930’s by
Colonel Tooey who operated the Jungle Cruise Ride
at the time.  He put them on an island in the river to
attract visitors to his ride.  He didn’t research well
so he had no idea they were excellent swimmers.
There are now several wild troops all along the river on both sides.
For more very interesting info on the Silver Springs “attraction” including movies and TV shows filmed there, click HERE.

 

After spending a LONG time watching the monkeys
we did paddle on up stream

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It was an easy 2 mile paddle up to the springs from which
the famous glass bottom boats originate

 

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We paddled over the deep spring hole itself and watched all the big fish and through the crystal clear water.

 

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Then we saw this gator slink up,
catch a catfish, toss it up in the air 3 times
and catch it to reposition it every time before he gulped it
down.  My guess is that Nancy and Bill have better
pictures of this on their blog since Nancy is the kayak
photographer and has a dynOmite camera and eye.
So check out her version when she gets it posted.

Here he is just having swallowed his fish lunch

 

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Time to float 2 miles back down the river.
This life IS tough!

 

An interesting trunk. 
Wonder where it finally goes into the ground.

 

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Turtles on parade

 

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More monkeys.

 

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The same monkeys?  Different monkeys??

 

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Hugging monkeys

 

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Flying Monkeys
They leap from tree to tree.
Amazing distances.
Apparently by holding on with their toes
and then flinging themselves into the air.

 

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These are just a few of the amazing number
we saw on the way back down the river.
But not including the otter we followed because
I was too busy keeping up with him to get
his picture.  Nancy probably has that too!

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A spectacular morning on the water
What a birthday this guy had.

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Stay tuned for the afternoon and evening.

18 comments:

  1. Absolutley wonderful pictures of a great day on the water.

    Glad that gator was more interested in the catfish than the birthday boy and his posse! ;c)

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  2. LOVELY, lovely pictures!!! Aren't those turtles big? I've never seen them that big. Never knew there were monkeys in the US either.... even tho the were brought here.
    Happy, Happy Birthday!!

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  3. Great post!! That will be a paddle we will remember for a long time:o))

    Don't think it can get any better than this... or can it ?!?!?!

    Hope to get my blog up in the next couple weeks;o)) Just to busy having too much fun!!!

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  4. I'd say that David had an awesome birthday! Those monkeys must have been great fun to watch. Paddle on my friends.
    Syl

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  5. Love it! Sounds like the perfect birthday celebration to me.

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  6. Happy birthday David! January babies are the best :)

    Great pictures, and I bet it was cool to celebrate with Nancy & Bill :)

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  7. what an exquisite way to spend his bday...

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  8. OK, that does it! I am officially homesick for Florida :) Thanks for sharing the pics, they bring back some of our best memories.

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  9. Happy Birthday David! Love the monkeys!

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  10. I've never heard about those monkeys before.

    Great way to spend a birth day. :)

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  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Wow, the pictures were wonderful. Thank you. Due to medical reasons, it will be the only way we will enjoy kayaking. I enjoyed it immensely

    Just BS!(Bob and Sue)

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  12. Love the monkey pics! Looks like a great way to spend a birthday.

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  13. Awesome post! Those pictures are amazing! Glad the monkeys didn't decide to swim out and play with you :)
    Happy Birthday David!

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  14. SPECTACULAR!!! Not sure what would beat that birthday! Truly amazing pictures. I was left with "WOW" :)

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  15. 'Sometimes' DavidJanuary 11, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Thanks for blogging about my very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Now when I lose my memory, I can go back and see what I did when I was younger. ;)

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  16. Just catching up and reading a lot of posts. I love the pictures and will be in touch. I can't believe the monkeys! Take care and have fun!

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  17. I'm really behind on blogs (obviously!). A belated happy birthday David! What a fun birthday you had!

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