Solo Swamping II

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This is from the area of the Homosassa River in Florida. Used to be home to a honky tonk amusement park. Now much of the area is the Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. There you find a mix of wild and previously wild ( for some reason cannot live in the wild) creatures. They are a manatee rehab facility too.

In the winter hundreds of manatees come in to the Springs area because the water is warmer than in the Gulf. Manatees need warmth. I paddled a couple of miles from my motel into the Springs area to view the manatees.. There are lots of tour boats and dive boats and people in the water though they pretty much had to stay in deeper water.

Gentle but big . Vegetarian. Usually slow moving but they can turn on speed if irritated. And they do get irritated.









Lunch.. The ones in the pen that can't survive in the wild are fed Napa cabbage and romaine lettuce








All is well.. I start paddling back to the motel and find a pair in the river.. Hoping for one last picture I get pretty close..

They go under the boat.. You can see Manatee #1




Manatee #2 is under the boat.. And it comes up hard and....my canoe slides sideways off its back and now I am swimming apart from the canoe...

In the process of swimming some distance to shore with boat and gear in tow, I get picked up by a pontoon boat. Somehow we manage a boat over boat and I get back in the canoe..not quite all the water out of it but enough to get to a ramp to bail.


Motto.. The gentlest looking creature has the biggest whack. I am more afraid of manatees now than gators. Gators leave. Manatees punch.

Now I feel like





and its a bad hair day

 
G

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Okay, dumb question #1: Are there monkeys in Florida? Wild ones? Native to Florida? Okay, that's 3 questions. I just came in from outside, and I have an ice cream headache.
My wild guess (sorry for the bad pun) is the manatees deemed not fit for release might have been imprinted by human contact. Just a guess though. It's a tricky problem; seeing without touching is hard to practise and enforce. "Don't feed the ---"is more than a grouchy sign to try to keep the parks bird shit free. I'm at odds with a good friend, who loves to grab and handle every wild thing he can get his hands on. I admonish him, but I've been a little guilty of the pleasure myself. The damage done is if we alter the animal's behaviour by our contact. So, in a long winded and roundabout way, I wonder if this bully manatee exhibits a natural, or learned response to paddlers? Had I been there, I'd likely have been reaching out to break my cardinal rule...trying to touch this fascinating creature...just before taking a rude swim.
Thanks Yellowcanoe for sharing some soft water wandering. My headache's gone, and I'm having a happy southern daydream. The angry looking monkeys concern me though. You could trust me not to reach out and touch one of those.
 
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I think it is illegal to touch a manatee. That said if you rub their back they will roll over to have their belly rubbed. I have done this several times while teaching scuba classes.
I never thought about unintended consequences. However, I have never fed marshmallows to gators.
 
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Didn't touch. They were below. Then they weren't there are quite a few around other than those two. The Wildlife park houses native Florida animals (and one hippo) that are unable to fend for themselves in the wild. In some cases (birds) wild ones come and go too. Also the droves of manatees. I believe the four resident ones are from the old amusement park and have no survival in the wild skills.

As as to stuff coming up under canoes my husband had a close call with a dolphin in January. Both manatees and dolphins are curious. Gators. No
 
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Gators, manatees, dolphins…that monkey's face pretty much resembles my own as i read these reports!
 
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That's in addition to the usual..bears. And birds.. The monkeys I have seen are all there because of the so called "attractions" of the fifties and sixties..now thankfully mostly gone (not sure about Weeki Wachee). The Silver River Monkeys are escapees from the old park and the five on Monkey Island on the Homosassa River..I have no idea where they came from. That one in the picture is the most curious.

There are deer too.. No polar bears.. No moose..no caribou.. yes on the loons.
 
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"...yes on the loons." Sensible birds. A little southern comfort in the wintertime sounds nice.
I'm still daydream'n about that cabin in the woods, and wonder'n what the night time sounds were like. I'm picturing peaceful serenades of crickets and owls. The gentle patter of rain on tarp, sighing breeze in the trees, or water lapping on shore is a wonderful way to drift off to slumber. Never having been there, nor done that, I can't guess what nocturnal sounds might rock me to sleep in Florida. Hearing loons would be weirdly comforting, knowing we're both on a little holiday.
 
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Loons in winter are silent.. at most they emit a hoarse yip. They are mellow.. saving their energy for breeding time later North. Now the manatees and gators in March have one thing on their mind.

There were quite a few tall Southern Pines so you can think of wind in the pines and also crickets and little frogs.. Water lapping on shore...no... I can't sleep with water crashing on the shore.. it reminds me of the possibility of getting nowhere the next day.

I pitched a tent in the cabin since I thought mice might like it in there too. I have never slept under a tarp tent or in an open shelter since the night in the Adirondacks in a lean to where mice ran across my face as I was in my sleeping bag.
 
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Middle of the Florida paddling paradise
Sorry Yellow canoe. But told you so. Manatee are more dangorus than gators. :rolleyes: They are curious. Watch out for the White Ibis they like to poop on take off. So if you paddel under their tree and scare them...... By the way pictures are great. Thanks for the tip on dolphins.
 
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Sorry Yellow canoe. But told you so. Manatee are more dangorus than gators. :rolleyes: They are curious. Watch out for the White Ibis they like to poop on take off. So if you paddel under their tree and scare them...... By the way pictures are great. Thanks for the tip on dolphins.

I've seen White Ibis in trees.. and they behave exactly as Cormorants. Lose the load before launch.. But what's up with the "heartbreak of Ibis?". They roam the grassy areas in gangs!!! I was staying ground floor room in Homosassa Springs and this Ibis with four buds in back sauntered up to the door. What was I supposed to do?

Yep..the peril is the sea cow!!
 
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North Creek NY
I've got to say after reading your Solo Swamping I, I thought I would reconsider and it might be nice to take the boats south some long winter. But after reading this episode, I think I will stay north. Reptiles and underwater mammals big enough to swamp your canoe might be over the line for me.

Great trip report!
 
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I go for the birds. I have thousands of bird pictures. I don't write trip reports of an hour watching an Ibis.

To each his own. I will say that Florida is incredibly paddler friendly with paddlecraft only launches and parking fees that are reasonable if not free.

Now that I have a reptile expert friend in the Orlando area who paddles I am looking forward to discovering snakes. I think I found a little young water moccasin on a lily pad.. So pretty and scared. I didn't get a picture.
 
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