The Warmth of Homosassa (Florida)

That’s a bit of a play on words I guess. I’m sitting in one of the warmest places in the country right now. I’m also surrounded by the warmth of many newfound friends. And I’m adjusting… to a much slower pace after more than fifteen months and 23,000 miles on the road.  I gave myself until the end of the year to meander rather spontaneously around this country, absorbing and sharing the beauty and experiences as I went. Now, in addition to saving money on gas, it’s time to sit still long enough to get some work done.

Getting things done is proving to be far more difficult than I had hoped because most everything I have to do involves the internet, and the available WiFi is hit and miss. The speed (and existence) seems to come and go with the breeze. This is one big detail I have to iron out. In the mean time, it’s put me behind once again.

It has been my habit to write about a place after I’ve moved on down the road, but I can’t put this off.  I already have far more images than I could possibly share in one post, and many more experiences ahead of me, so this is only a first installment about my time in the Homosassa/Crystal River area.

It was the manatee that brought me here. Swimming with these gentle creatures is an experience I could not pass up, and I was on the phone lining it up within minutes of settling into my campsite. After a quick online search I chose to schedule my “manatee experience” with a group simply called Snorkle with Manatee. The following morning I was on a pontoon boat with two gentlemen from England and the boat captain, Laura. She did a wonderful job of educating us on the Manatee, as well as proper (and lawful) etiquette before we slipped into the water wearing mask and snorkel.

You’re not supposed to swim after them, but if you’re still and calm their curious nature will bring them to you. In this adorable video clip one of the young manatee comes to me and bends for me to rub him when I reach out with my hand. With a video camera in my other I had little forward momentum so I kept slipping away from him, and he reaches out to me with his flipper to pull me back in!!

The friendly guy in the second shot below is literally holding onto me. He held me for a long time, turned me around and held me some more. I found out later they refer to him as Chester the Molester. :-)

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The campground I chose couldn’t be better. Nature’s Resort sits right on Halls River, making it easy to get out on my kayak frequently. In addition to the manatee there is a huge variety of birds to enjoy along the river… heron, egret, pelican, osprey, eagles and more!

Then there’s the people! I met several nice folks who came and went, but many of the people here live here full time or keep an RV of some sort as a weekend get-away.  In time I got to know and treasure many of the regulars here. They are a fun and funny group! The stories… the pranks… the howling laughter.  They remind me so much of author Carl Hiaasen’s characters I think I should write a book! There are too many to list by name, but I call them my “Cast of Characters”.

I have to share a funny story before getting to my image gallery… After a frustrating afternoon of trying to load my Manatee video to YouTube on slow WiFi only to have it fail, I slammed my laptop shut and grabbed my kayak. I needed fresh air and exercise… badly!! Ten minutes up the river I noticed a couple guys who looked like they were trying to paddle a Nature’s Resort pontoon boat with an oar. I know from years of boating that stuck on the water is not a fun place to be so I went to check it out. Engine wouldn’t start. They were stranded and there were no other boats in sight. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I offered to try to tow them back with my kayak. Took awhile, but I got ‘em there!! Now I have two more friends in my Cast of Characters!

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There are many more stories soon to come, and many more beautiful images too! Enjoy the gallery below!!!

Great Blue Heron taking flight over Halls River

Great Blue Heron taking flight over Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Great Blue Heron in flight, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Great Blue Heron, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Great Egret, Halls River

Homosassa, Florida

Anhinga watching over Halls River in Homosassa

Homosassa Florida

Cormorant swimming Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Great Egret taking flight over Halls River

Halls River, Homosassa Florida

Juvenile Little Blue Heron

Homosassa Florida

Little Blue Heron takes flight over Halls River

Halls River, Homosassa Florida

Little Blue Heron

Homosassa, Florida

Osprey, Halls River, Homosassa Florida

Homosassa Florida

Brown Pelican taking flight on Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Brown Pelican, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Brown Pelican staring me down on Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Little Blue Heron, Halls River

Homosassa, Florida

Great Blue Heron, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Great Egret taking flight, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

White Ibis, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Juvenile Little Blue Heron taking flight, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Wood Ducks, Halls River

Homosassa Florida

Great Blue Heron, Halls River

homosassa florida

Great Egret, Halls River

Spider Monkey of Monkey Island, Homosassa Florida

Spider Monkey of Monkey Island, Homosassa Florida

Spider Monkey of Monkey Island, Homosasa Florida

Spider Monkey of Monkey Island, Homosasa Florida

Homosassa Florida

Cat hoping for some fish at The Freezer in Homosassa

Homosassa Florida

Cute pup watches the boat traffic go by on Halls River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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19 thoughts on “The Warmth of Homosassa (Florida)

  1. Fran your pictures of the birds are AMAZING! I think the osprey is my favorite :) It brings me such a sense of calm and peace to look at your photographs, you have a unique gift of capturing the look in their eyes of each critter you take a picture of, as if they have waited their whole life to pose for you and your lens :) I am so glad that you have chosen to stay with us here at Nature’s Resort for a while longer my friend!

    • Thanks Sandy! Experiencing the birds here has been special. Not only those I stalk on the water, but watching how they linger around those fishing, and the hawk who regularly frequented the high branches of the tree above my last camp spot. Even the little ones who like to shuffle across the top of my motorhome in the early hours. It’s all fun. I’m in a happy place! :-)

  2. Great meeting you at High Octane last night and look forward to going out on the kayak or meeting up to enjoy an evening at High Octane. Will enjoying reading your blog from this point forward.

    • Thanks Cathy! Wonderful meeting you as well. I’m so glad you and a few others have reached out with suggestions and offers. I love the area!! See you again soon!

  3. I am so enjoying following your life journey and living vicariously through you! Looking forward to seeing what comes next. Kudos to you for embracing and taking the risk to live your life in this way!

  4. You are awesome! the pictures are great as well as , the story you tell. Your right we are a “cast of characters”!!

  5. Once again, glorious photos!! Such imagery comes to mind as I read your stories. I can almost see “Chester the Molester”!! I will agree that we are a “cast of characters, but great stories have been written with such a cast! As I have told you, I look forward to your photos and the next “excerpt” about your “cast of characters”!! Such fun!

    • Thanks Suzy. Glad you’re enjoying. Ahhh… the cast. If nothing else it’d be a great reality show!!! :-) I mean, come on! Look at the popularity of Honey BooBoo!

  6. Your post sparked my memories of Crystal River and the Manatees. Was able to snorkel with them last year. I was lucky enough to have one smaller one play with me for a good 20 minutes. They are such neat creatures. Great Photos! Ray

    • Thanks Ray. I agree, the manatee are special creatures. Stay tuned for more on the Homosassa/Crystal River area in the next few days!

  7. Pingback: More Beauty around Homosassa Florida | Journey in Focus

  8. I copied your website from the 2nd story about your travels around Citrus County. I moved north (unusual) from Largo to Old Homosassa in 1984. I feel what you are writing about and envy what you are doing. I’m hoping I can run into you at some point (High Octane/ Freezer, Monkey Bar or maybe Dragon Boat paddling on the Homosassa which I just joined). I love this area and I love the people who come here and love it as much as I do. Thank you for your beautiful pictures and keep writing about this area — it is the best.

    • Thanks for the note Gail. I’ve met an amazing number of people here who feel the same way. It’s a magnetic place for sure! I hope to meet up with my friend Cathy at High Octane tomorrow evening. Maybe see you there.

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