01/12/19 Fruitland Park, FL

DAY #84

Last full day at Lake Griffin State Park. I really slept well last night, so well in fact, I didn’t get up until close to noon. Must’ve been the physical exercise of being in the water 2+ hours with the Manatees yesterday.

The time here has been a good one. The campgound provided for a comfortable secluded site, along with nice amenities. It served as a good base for exploring the area. I really enjoyed this island, not so much the desert surrounding it. I’m finding, that I’m a country boy, I just don’t like the city. Does saying this after a lifetime of city living make me a hypocrite? No, I don’t think so, I’ve always been drawn towards rural living, and now that I’ve been given the chance, let’s just say, I’ve not been disappointed.

Even including “The Villages” and the endless strip malls and fast food outlets, the area has charm. From the pastures and forests, to the “Old Florida” styled homes and downtowns that still excist. It is an enjoyable place to hang out.

The weather continues to be almost a non-factor. Its just so nice, that you start to take it as normal, and when you do, you don’t think about it anymore.

Took a leisurely late afternoon drive, saying so long for now to this slice of Florida.

01/11/19 Fruitland Park, FL.

DAY #83

Today promised to be a big day. I had rescheduled my swim with the Manatees to 10:00 am and this time, I was determined to make it.

Looking out the trailer window, the morning looked promising. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the winds were light. Got up, dressed, and headed out the door, yeow, the temperature was only 46 degrees out. I knew it was going to be cold but still. I guess the space heater being on overnight had lulled me into thinking otherwise. The cold had me a little worried. The water temp would be 72 degrees which is OK, but the air temp when getting out of the water could make for one bone chilling experience, something I could live without.

Made it to Crystal Falls in plenty of time. Got the chance to take a couple laps around town. You can still find “Old Florida” in the town proper. It’s a style that I like the more I see, and I really appreciate that some of it remains to still be seen.

The temp was warming up and looked like it would be in the mid 50s, still cold enough to concern me. I found the place, checked in, put on my govt issued wet-suit, and then watched a video about the dos & don’t when swimming around the manatees. After that, it was off to the van, which took us to the boat.

The boat took us to a place in the bay known to have manatee’s, and we weren’t disappointed.
Into the water we went, and while it was cool, it wasn’t that bad. The water was murky which was somewhat of a bummer sight wise, but you could still see the shapes of them in the water and more so, once in the water, you could feel them when moving your arms around to keep above water. You’re not supposed to touch them, only let them touch you, but given the murkiness of the water and having to move my arms around to keep my head above water, it was hard not to do.

I didn’t take any of the photos so they actually came out pretty good.
That’s me with my back to the camera. It was so neat, even though they were hard to see, it was like they would come underneath and bump into you.
That’s me, the fat boy on the left. The others kept touching me thinking I was a manatee. (Just kidding).