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Return to the Manatee

Thursday                                                                                 Most Recent Posts
December 1, 2016                                                                   
Hidden Hurricane Damage, a Rant and a Reward
Blue Springs State Park                                                          What to Do When It’s Windy?  Go Hiking!
Orange City, Florida



Today is moving day..  We get a beautiful sunrise to send us off to the Flagler car wash where Winnona and Ruby get the salt sprayed off of them thanks to David.







Have to do the under carriage too.  I want to get Winnona undercoated. Has any one done that or know where to get it done??






We’re on our way to Blue Spring to visit the Manatee but we stop off in Deland at Southern RV where they do a great job of replacing our rear slide topper.  I smashed it beyond repair with a too close encounter with a pole on the street where Winnona was parked in Charlottesville.

We can highly recommend Southern RV so far. The work was well done and in a timely manner. They are very helpful and the price was reasonable. It’s a family owned small operation with very close quarters but I’m pretty sure I prefer them to Lazy Days. 


She’s looking clean and spiffy with her wash even without her topper



But looking even better once the work is finished.



From there we jog over to Gilberts Propane, also in Deland,  for our yearly propane fill up.


 IMG_3509Finally we pull into site 17 at Blue Springs. I am really looking forard to site 17 since it is only one site away from the path down to the boardwalk along the spring run where you can see the manatee.

But, when we back into the site, it is clear that leveling here will be much worse than other sites we’ve had which we thought, in previous years, were really bad.  We are going to need all of our pads and possibly more than we have to get level both from front to back and from side to side in what I thought would be the perfect site. Not only is it close to the path but it is as far away as you can get from the whistle blowing train.

But it is not to be. David calls the ranger station and arranges for us to swap sites to # 34 which is half way around the world from the path. He opines that “we’ll get more steps”. But we will also get to listen to train whistles much more clearly.




So the moral of the story is, if you want to see manatee, this is a great place and the spring run is gorgeous and totally natural but be careful which site you choose since some are pretty difficult for a big rig.

Soon we are set up and off walking those extra steps to the spring path where we join the first on the boardwalk looking for manatee.  At one overlook we visit the beautiful, mosaic Manatee..







From that overlook  we can see the manatee though the reflections in the water make pictures pretty tricky.  The dark gray in the water is not a branch reflection.   That’s the manatee.



The views of the St. John’s river from the boardwalk along the spring run are classic Florida.



We were glad to see that the Hurricane had not damaged the big live oaks along the boardwalk.


On visits past, from the boat landing, we’ve been able to see a bald eagle high in the top of the trees across the spring run and amazingly he’s there today too.   Even though he’s across the run river from the boat dock, my zoom can still bring him in.  




Between the spring run and the St. John’s River, there is almost always a group of Cormorants clowning around.  They hang out along the water barriers placed there to keep kayakers out of the spring run.


Their blue eyes are spectacular.


We walk back up the spring run seeing the manatee as we go.


We’re headed all the way up this time to the top to see the spring itself.  I absolutely love that Blue spring has kept its spring run totally natural and added only a habitat protecting boardwalk.  No cement anywhere.



On the way we walk down to one of the metal swimming platforms which are closed but who is this hanging out on the step?   I think he’s sleeping.  He never moves.  But he’s gone when we come back down from the spring.





We stop inside the park gift shop where a lovely Christmas tree and some stockings are in the window.  I spy this great t-shirt. I think this is our motto.  It’s the style of fulltiming we do most.   If I could decide which shirt I currently own to get rid off, I’d add this one to the t-shirt drawer which is overflowing.  Something has to go before anything else can come in.




We arrive at the spring head where I don’t see any manatee but the water is so blue that if they are at all below the surface, I might not. .  The spring water is 72 degrees year round. 

I’d love to jump right in there but they don’t allow anyone to swim during the winter when the manatee are in residence.  We have been swimming here later in the season and it is just magnificent to be in such a beautiful natural spring.   There are no docks or swimming launches at the head.   You have to swim up from the last one along the boardwalk.  This keeps the head spring from becoming too full of people. 



Back down at the spring mouth, the sun has one down bringing to a close our first day of a short stay at Blue Spring State Park.  A few days is better than no days.


Tomorrow we hope to kayak Snake Creek off of the St. John’s River.


  1. I was hoping you'd be in my neighborhood soon! Yay!! I might swing by uninvited one afternoon on the way home.

    The mystery fish on the swim step is a vermiculated sailfin catfish. It's an invasive exotic fish, introduced from the pet trade. They attach themselves to the manatee by suction, which feels something like a bee sting to them. Many times, if you see a manatee doing a barrel roll in the water, they're attempting to detach the catfish.

  2. It looks like you got that bald eagle to pose for you. What a picture!

  3. Your shots of that eagle are my favourites!

  4. Winnona sure is looking good...all's well with Winnona:o))

    We have been to Blue Springs, but never camped there...unlevel sites might be an issue.

  5. I wonder why more car washes do not have an uncovered bay on either end for over-sized vehicles like RVs. Great that there is one near Gamble Rogers! Great pictures of the eagle and cormorant! Wish we could have stayed longer to explore the new section of bike trail that goes into the park. Good for next time I guess. ;)

  6. What a magnificent photo of the Bald Eagle:) The spring is such a beautiful color. So cool that the manatee are there to greet you.

  7. Are you sure you aren't a professional photographer?

  8. Oh I sure miss the manatees and bald eagles! It's been too long since Florida. Looking forward to seeing more photos of the springs.

  9. Nothing feel better than a quick fix done correctly at a good price - whether is our rigs or us :-) Winona is looking very spiffy! The eagle is wonderful, so stately and proud. The coramants look like a gang of rebels :-) I love the turquoise water, such a lovely winter spot for the sweet manatee. More than anywhere else, this is what I'd love to see in Florida.

  10. What a beautiful sight, I would love to see the Manantee some day and boy what a shot of the Bald Eagle

  11. Lovely...back to the manatees...what a beautiful photo of the eagle!! Love the t-shirt :)

  12. With Winnona all cleaned up and spiffy looking she qualifies for America's NTW (Next Top Winnebago)! :cD

  13. I know pictures are 90% the person taking them, but your camera sure has amazing zoom and stability. Great bird pics.

  14. Winnona is looking spiffy. Why is it that so many RV parks have such unlevel sites? I run into this way too often. Love when you visit the manatees.


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