Thursday, May 23, 2019

Manatee Kayaking in Crystal River Florida

Hello from Florida! 
We are here on a quick impromptu Southern Road Trip to visit my little sister. Today, we had the most memorable and amazing experience with kayaking in Crystal River Florida along the Three Sisters Spring. 
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 I don't even remember how I stumbled upon this hidden gem of Crystal River, but it 100% deserves it's namesake. Since it's only about an hour away from my sister in Gainesville, I knew that we had to go. We loaded up the car right around 6AM this morning and headed towards Crystal River so that we could get on the water right at sunrise. We did a kayaking tour and it worked out that the other kayakers in the group cancelled, so we had a guide all to ourselves. We ended up being the first ones on the water today, which gave us a chance to kayak alongside manatees and alligators, as well as seeing so many species of turtles and birds. 
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We kayak at home all the time, but kayaking amongst the palm trees in the still Florida waters while the sun rises is a new experience. It's one that I could totally get used to. 
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still can't get over how crystal clear the water is crystal river manatee kayak 7
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Thank goodness for that clear spring water that allowed us to see...Manatees! 
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While I hoped that we would get a chance to see some manatees, I really wasn't expecting it because you never know with Mother Nature. However, during our paddle, we had a chance to see 6 different manatees, including a few babies. The first time we saw one, it passed right beneath my kayak. It felt so nerve racking and exciting to have this animal that was wider and longer than the kayak passing right beneath me. It was tough to get good photos, but here is the quickest video of a manatee visiting us below.  

After lots of manatee sightings, we parted ways with our kayak guide to go all on our own. We stopped in the springs for the most refreshing swim and snorkel session. 
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 The temperatures are supposed to hit upward of 100 degrees in Florida this weekend, so it was so nice to take a dip in the icy cold spring water. crystal river manatee kayak 13
one last kayak selfie before paddling back 
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Just have to say that I am so incredibly grateful for this experience today. It always feels so humbling to me to have the opportunity to witness such natural beauty and everything was made better by the fact that I got to share this experience with my sister and husband. 

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