Friends along Florida Waterways

Sorry once again for the delay in sharing my stories with you. I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy some great experiences with many new friends here in Florida, especially on the waterways. Lots of outdoor experiences means much time spent on my computer, loading and culling through the images I gather along the way, not to mention the tagging and writing.

The first stop I made during this venture into Florida was the Orlando area. It was there that I met a delightful new friend and fellow travel blogger, Erika Wiggins. I’ve been back to visit her twice while camped here in Homosassa. Through Erika I met yet another friend and fellow blogger, Rachelle Lucas. The three of us met up for some peaceful kayaking at Wekiva Springs. With so much in common conversation came easily as we enjoyed the serenity of the river.

Wekiva River

Wekiva River

Alligator, Wekiva River

Alligator, Wekiva River

Rachel Lucas and Erika Wiggins on Wekiva River

Rachelle Lucas and Erika Wiggins on Wekiva River

I met three more “women of the water” right here in my campground. Donna Egbert, Sally Love and Kathy Edwards took me for a journey up Halls River to remote rookery filled with nesting birds.

Kayaking with friends on Halls River

Kayaking with Donna, Kathy and Sally on Halls River

Anhinga sunning on Halls River

Anhinga sunning on Halls River

Great Blue Heron nest , Halls River

Great Blue Heron nest , Halls River

I’ve mentioned in my last two blog posts that I’ve met a lot of new friends right here at Nature’s Resort.  The “Cast of Characters” as I refer to them. From time to time I hop on a pontoon boat with one gang or another for a relaxing cruise down the river. Here’s some of my favorite characters… John, Gail, John (lots of John’s here!), JB (who’s also a John) and KC.

A few friends from Nature's Resort

A few friends from Nature’s Resort

Osprey Nest on Homosassa River

Osprey Nest on Homosassa River

Spider Monkey on Spider Island, Homosassa River

Spider Monkey on Monkey Island, Homosassa River

Alligator on Homosassa River

Alligator on Homosassa River

Pelicans scrambling for lunch on Homosassa River

Pelicans scrambling for lunch on Homosassa River

When an article about my journey was featured on the front page of the Citrus County Chronicle I was almost overwhelmed by the outreach of many locals with suggestions of places I should see, and offers of kayaking adventures. It was that article that brought Glen and Gwen Cook into my life. It took a few weeks before we were able to coordinate our schedules for an outing on Crystal River, first on our kayaks to Three Sisters Springs, and then in their motorboat down the river to the gulf.

Gwen and Glen Cook

Gwen and Glen Cook

Pelican landing on Crystal River

Pelican landing on Crystal River

 

Crystal River, Florida

Crystal River, Florida

Cormorant on Crystal River

Cormorant on Crystal River

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Crystal River

Yellow-crowned Night Heron Crystal River

Days after our first outing I was invited to join up with a group of their friends for a 9-10 mile journey to Ozello Point and back. This was one of my more intense kayak workouts, in howling winds and waves.

I had a marvelous experience right after we launched our kayaks and headed down the channel toward to river. A hawk had gotten himself completely entangled in some fishing line and was struggling to fly, landing in the water amongst some of our group. He managed to flap himself to the shoreline nearby, but I doubted he’d survive as tangled up as he was. (I saw a dead Anhinga, caught up in fishing line and hanging from a tree limb, while out with the pontoon group above.)

Luckily one of the kids on the dock had a pocket knife, which was passed to me as I approached the hawk. I have to admit the sharp talons and beak of this panic stricken hawk were a little intimidating, but I took a slow and gentle approach. He must have sensed I was there to help because he held quite still as cut the line and untangled the rest from his body and wings. And then I got to hold him for a moment which was very cool indeed! (I believe it’s a Coopers Hawk. Any hawk experts out there??)

Interestingly I had a similar experience with a pelican who got snagged by a young boy fishing off the dock at Nature’s Resort a few weeks ago. I’m now being called “The Bird Whisperer” 🙂

Photo by Glen Cook

Photo by Glen Cook

 

Long paddle with new friends, Crystal River

Long paddle with new friends, Crystal River

Great Blue Heron, Crystal River

Great Blue Heron, Crystal River

Great Blue Heron, Crystal River

Great Blue Heron, Crystal River

 

With my new friends on Crystal River

With my new friends on Crystal River, L-R… Me, Richard, Carol, Glen, Rick, Layne, Kim, Gwen and Chuck

A day or two later I joined up with Glen, Gwen, Kim and Chuck for an outing at Rainbow Springs! This was one of my favorite spots yet!!

Rainbow Springs, Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida

Rainbow Springs, Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida

Waterfall at Rainbow Springs, Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida

Waterfall at Rainbow Springs, Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida

Trees at Rainbow Springs

Trees at Rainbow Springs

Glen and Gwen Cook on Rainbow River

Glen and Gwen Cook on Rainbow River

Tri-colored Heron landing at Rainbow Springs

Tri-colored Heron landing at Rainbow Springs

Tri-colored Heron at Rainbow Springs

Tri-colored Heron at Rainbow Springs

Anhinga at Rainbow River

Anhinga at Rainbow River

Great Egret, Rainbow River

Great Egret, Rainbow River

Rainbow River

Rainbow River

Turtle sunning on Rainbow River

Turtle sunning on Rainbow River

Sandhill Crane, Rainbow River

Sandhill Crane, Rainbow River

Anhinga and turtle on Rainbow River

Anhinga and turtle on Rainbow River

Cormorant nests on Rainbow River

Cormorant nests on Rainbow River

Little Blue Heron on Rainbow River

Little Blue Heron on Rainbow River

Rainbow River

Rainbow River

Great Blue Heron and nest atop a tree on Rainbow Springs

Great Blue Heron and nest atop a tree on Rainbow Springs

Red Cardinal at Rainbow Springs

Red Cardinal at Rainbow Springs

I’ve mentioned numerous times how fortunate I have been to meet so many wonderful new friends as I’ve traveled across this country. And none more friendly and engaging than those I’ve met and shared time with in the Crystal River/Homosassa area. Thank you one and all for adding to the blessings and memories on my journey.

 

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13 thoughts on “Friends along Florida Waterways

    • Good question. I was bumped by a couple startled manatee a few weeks ago. I got wet, but my camera didn’t. I researched for good stable kayak before buying one. Unless it’s a really easy step in or out I keep it in a dry bag while getting in and out. I also keep it in the bag if I’m in iffy conditions.

  1. I’ve been following your jouney from the beginning. I am also an RVer and photographer in Pennsylvania. Enjoy your blog very much. I have a question…what lens were you using to get such great bird photos?

    • Thanks Kerry. I’m a big Canon fan. Most of the bird images are shot with 70-200. That might surprise some, but on a kayak… I’m stealth! 🙂

  2. Hi Fran,
    What a beautiful representation you’re showing us of your stay in FL. I’ve been to every place you mentioned and it’s great to see it through your eyes. Rainbow Springs was one of my favorites as well! Glad you have met so many wonderful people while there.
    Laura

    • Glad you’re enjoying some of your favorite places with me Laura. And I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful new friends as well. It’ll be hard to drive away from here.

  3. Fran,
    Enjoyed seeing the latest pics , especially the animal ones. The story about the hawk was interesting. We live on the water in Md and have ospreys and the occasional eagle in the trees in the backyard almost daily. They are really fun to watch. Hope your well ! Jeff and Paula

  4. I am still amazed at the paths I have walked where you have been– great effort on the photos– keep the camera dry– mine are not water soluble either–shooting outside in Iowa in April has been a challenge. Always looking forward to your next adventure in your Adventurer

    TgH

    • Thanks Tom!!! I’m finally rolling again! Camped in Georgia now, and making my way back north. Just posted about my favorite places thus far on my journey. I think you’ll enjoy those!

  5. Pingback: There Are Mountains in Georgia!!! | Journey in Focus

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