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Friday, March 18, 2011

Silver River

Silver River manatee

If I have to rate this paddle it would be rated Triple M; Manificent, Marvelous, Memorable. It was going to be Triple X, for X-traordinary, X-cellent, and X-pectacular but for some reason thought that it was not a family friendly rate, so Triple M it is. 

An eventful trip to one of the most beautiful rivers in Florida. Mokeys, gators, and an unexpected host. If you already saw the opening picture you know what I am talking about....A manatee!!!!!!!

Put In/Take Out: Ray's Wayside. It is on Highway 40 inmediately after crossing the bridge over the Ocklawaha River, if you are traveling East to West. Turn to the left and you will find Ray's at your left. The cost is $5.00 per vehicle.
Silver River Flora
 We put in at Ray's Wayside at 10:30AM and started paddling along the canal leading from Ray's to the Silver River. A little late for my taste but at least we were there. The first wildlife form we saw was a Great Egret 10 minutes into the paddle and less than a minute after, a gator swam across the river right in front of us. Not too long after that a motor boat, the first one of many, came down. One of the occupants told us "There is a manatee like three hundred yards in front of you". I was looking forward to find it in the clear waters of the Silver River but was a little skeptic. I have read several reports on Silver River and do not remember someone saying that spotted a manatee here and, after all, we came here to see monkeys...and believe me...monkeys we saw.

Monkey Time
We spotted a monkey troop about 300 feet before the State Park canoe ramp. A motor boat was already there and a lady was throwing fruits to the monkeys, who were a little uneasy making sounds and fighting each other. My wife realized that we were in wrong spot and asked me to move from there. As she said that a monkey approached a boat,  90 ~ 100ft in front of us, very aggressively. The boat was in reverse and I had to give them some room but in the process came closer to bank. Managed to point the yak out up river but the angle we were took us close from where the boat was before and as I tried to paddle away from there a monkey came storming jumping from branch to branch. As it showed its teeth came really close to a thin branch that almost gave away because the monkey weight. It jumped to another one as was almost 8 to 9 feet from our yak, and very mad. My wife, somehow, managed to twist her body and jumped into the water not before throwing the camera into the yak. Just like that!!!!

Monkey at Silver River
In the water my wife, realizing what she just did said “get me out of the water”. She later told me that she started thinking about alligators. There I was, pulling wifey close to the yak with my left hand, and using my paddle to hold a crazy monkey back with my right hand. Now that I think about it, had to look funny, or at  least  weird. As the monkey turned around my paddle went to the side and now was able to use my two hands to help wifey to get back into the yak. Asked to stay calm and to let me pull her back and she did great. I shifted to the right side and with my left hand pulled her back in. Just in time because the monkey came back and she was able to grab the paddle and used it as a sword between us and the monkey. We moved away to the other side of the river where she calmed down. Then she did shoot pics at the monkeys and bragged about how she did save the camera. Crazy photographer! Gotta love her!!!!!


As we moved away from the monkeys a gentleman in a kayak said to us that in less than five minutes he saw a manatee first and now monkeys. Then someone in a group of three kayakers, coming also up river, yelled to one of his partners that there was a manatee to his right. Anticipating the manatee was coming up river I paddled fast towards the State Park ramp. The manatee swam under us and stopped near the ramp but it got crowded in a hurry. My wife asked a young man that jumped into the water from a boat to shoot a pic for us with our underwater camera. He did shoot a couple and we decided to move away from the area. As we paddled up river heard the characteristic “pffffffftttt” the manatees do when breathing. The poor animal decided to leave the crowded State Park ramp area too. It swam beside us for many minutes, to our delight, and my wife shoot some pics and a video. Pretty cool. The manatee stopped in a small pool at one of the river bends as we continued up river. The leader of three kayakers paddled by it, and by us, as one lady in another yak asked him to slow down. The guy looked like he was racing someone the three times we saw him.
Inmature Ibis
Wood Ducks
If you have never been in the head spring you do not know what you are missing. We can describe it to you and write one thousand adjectives and still will fall short on how beautiful it is. One thing we saw, and it scares the heck out of me, was someone tossing food to an alligator from the State Park tour boats. We saw the gator going after wathever was tossed to it and munching on it. In a little less than a year we have been paddling have never seen a gator feeding and it was impressive, even for a small one. The pic show the gator at in the process and also we have a video.  Gator feeding

We also saw a second troop of monkeys and people feeding them from a small motor boat.

Other than my wife’s diving stunt it was a heck of a day. Let me see: gators, cormorants, pie billed greebes, coots, moorhens, great egrets, limpkins, little blue, yellow crowned, black crowned herons, wood ducks, hawks, turtles, monkeys, and a manatee. Saw a great blue heron and a belted kingfisher but no pics which for the kingfisher is kind of normal but not for the great blue. What a place Silver River is.!!!!!
Feeding Gator
Here are more pics of this trip and also a link to see more pics from this and past trips. Silver River


  After two 4 nice and easy posts I am starting to have problems of all types with the blogger. Last week lost a finished post and this week it messed up the text format. My apologies for the technical difficulties. Have no clue what the problem is.

Anyways, hope you come back next week for another Views From Our Kayak.

Great Egret

Yellow Crowned Night Heron


Black Crowned Night Heron
Optical illusion - Moorhen & Gator


Red Shouldered Hawk caught a snake

Little Blue Heron

Inmature Little Blue Heron

Manatee at the bottom of the Silver River


Pie-Billed Greebe

Female Wood Duck
Turtles swimming near the Silver Springs


A video of the manatee....

1 comment:

  1. A manatee, and wifey, in the Silver River. Wow. Now if we can do something about the effing idiots on the River.