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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Silver River

Silver River monkey
If you were waiting for the complete post my apologies. Had another long day today and it is just now when I have a chance to finish. Did kayak Silver River this past Saturday and had a heck of a day. It was a solo paddle since my wife was with her parents that are visiting after a year without coming here. It was a good day anyways.

Canal from Ray's Wayside to Silver River

Put In / Take Out: The Put In and Take Out for this trip is Ray's Wayside, or maybe you know the area for where the Ocala Boat Club is. The address is 9570 NE 28th LN, Silver Springs. The fee is $5.00 dollars per vehicle and there was an attendant when I arrived at 9:50AM. He did advice me to drop my kayak near the designated area for kayaks and canoes and to go to the parking lot all the way across the lot since there were no spots near the put in. He mentioned that there were more than 100 kayaks in the river. I was in the water at 10:08AM and started paddling the canal leading to the Silver River.

Silver River Turtle

Lady Wood Duck
The river was traffic free for most of the first hour of the trip. There were not too many pics chances, maybe a couple, and felt I was making good time. At one of the river bends saw a known person coming down river in a big red yak. I knew it had to be Master Dave, my kayaking mentor, since I saw his car in the parking lot. I said hello and he replied, talked for maybe two minutes and told me about a troop of monkeys some yards ahead to the left, a Roseate Spoonbill in the State Park area, and a tree with several Swallow-Tailed Kites. Spoonies on the Silver River? Swallow-Tailed Kites? Dang!!!!! Promising!!!! Then he mentioned the Kites were gone but I was excited already and that did not take away my enthusiasm. Asked him about seeing manatees but he said that none were in the river. Let him go to continue his trip down river but already was thinking about the Spoonies and the Kites. I was looking forward to his post later in the night, by the the rare case you have not read it yet here it is: Dave's Yak Tales - Silver River.


As Master Dave said, found the family of monkeys some meters after I talked to him. They were on the left side of the river. Two ladies and a couple in canoes were already there as a gentleman in a boat with an electric motor and a heck of camera lens. I was glad my wife was not with me because she has been already asking for a new camera and lens. If she sees something like that our budget can and will be hit. The couple was a little close and I had to warn them. I know from own experience that the farther the better with these monkeys. Last time we kayaked here wifey ended in the river because a charging monkey. It seemed that they appreciated the warning and backed off. As I stayed in the middle of the river handling my kayak and trying to shoot pics the canoes and the boat left and had the monkeys to myself. One of them jumped from a tree to another, and to another one until it stopped in a palm tree where it made a movement as it was to jump to my yak. What????? I was in the middle of the river...What the heck? Did paddle away from it and stayed far from the little sucker.


A boat occupants toss fruits to the monkeys
During my battle with the current and always trying to avoid being close to the monkeys did not see a boat(a big one) coming, but the monkeys did. Suddenly they came down from the trees and line up in the banks like expecting something to happen. The young people on the boat started tossing fruits to the monkeys who were making sounds like begging from them to throw more. One of the monkeys even caught a fruit in mid air. Sign it for the Marlins...they can use some help. All kidding aside one of these days something bad is going to happen and no...I have not seen too many Planet Of The Apes adds on TV. The monkeys are not shy to come close to the people and, as I later confirmed, are associating boats with food. Every time they see a boat they come closer to the bank expecting something to be thrown at them. On my way down river found the monkeys again near the same area. While shooting some more pics a heard a boat coming, and so did the monkeys. Suddenly they started coming to the bank and making a begging sound(that would be a long uuuuuuuhhhhhh). This one kept going and did not toss any food. Hey...I am sure the young people in the first boat were having fun and do not blame them. But something has to be done to educate these boat owners. What they are doing is dangerous and will have consequences sooner or later.

Monkey time in the Silver River
And now the Silver River Grooming Salon...and some more monkey pics

"Just hurry up. I have a date in a hour"

"Wait...There is something behind your ear"

"Ahhhh...Have an itch just right there"

"Almost done. Just one more in your neck and you will be flea free"

Monkey Mom takes care of her little one

"Dang...Still have to climb higher"

Monkey with her baby

Silver River monkey with a baby

And Silver River Flower Shop...

Silver River Rhesus Monkey
Did You Know That? The monkeys in the Silver River are Rhesus monkeys and the legend says that those animals escaped from the Tarzan(Johnny Weissmuller) movie filming. But the story it is not as appealing and has more twists and turns that you can imagine. It all started when a concessionary, Colonel Tooey, at the Silver Spring State Park thought that having monkeys in a small man made island was a good hook to attract tourists. He thought the water was going to be a natural barrier but according to an eyewitness the animals did not stay in the island for more than ten minutes. Soon they showed their natural talents swinging from the trees, hitting the water, and swimming to the forest shoreline. After that these primates have been motive for controversies and scientific studies. For more information click on this link: Monkey Business.

A Roseate Spoonbill and a Tri-Colored Heron
After the monkeys, kept going up river on my way to Silver Springs. Saw a group of people doing something I would never do on the Silver River...tubing. No way in heck!!!!! Also saw a large group of kayakers coming down. Was able to shoot a decent pic of them as they paddle by. But I was thinking in the Spoonie Dave mentioned. When I made it to the State Park area looked for the Spoonie but did not see it so took a break under a shade near the head spring and prepared myself for the long trip back to Ray's Wayside. While waiting for a boat to move and take its fumes away from me saw something in the island in front of the State Park. In the approach realized that there were four birds wading there. A Tri-Colored Heron, an Ibis, a Green Heron, and a Roseate Spoonbill. I was  so excited. Did not think I was ever going to see a Spoonie at Silver River. There was also a mess in the water. White feathers all over the place made me think that a gator had lunch in that area earlier. I have seen a huge gator around that same island before. Had to paddle around since the Spoonie kept moving. Finally had a good chance for pics of the Spoonie and the Tri-Colored Heron.

A group decided to go tubing down river. Hoped not to see them in the10:00PM news!!!

Here are more pics of what I saw in the Silver River today...

Fishes on the Silver River




Green Heron

Green Heron

Little Gator

Immature Little Blue Heron

Turtles sunning in the Silver River

Anhinga (male)

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron


Moorhen chick

Anhinga (female)

Gator lurks

Anhinga and Gator

Silver Spring State Park

Little Blue Heron changing from white to blue


Tri-Colored Heron

Spoonie and a Tri-Colored Heron




Wood Ducks ducklings

Wood Duck duckling

Great Blue Heron

Two little gators

Tiny gator

Mom Wood Duck and ducklings

Monkey thinks about getting a manicure

Silver River monkey

Monkey ponders its next move

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Underwater pic at Silver Spring
Made it back to Ray's Wayside near 5:25PM. A three hour and 25 minute trip down stream which I mostly floated. Only did paddle the last hour or so only because ran out of water in a hot and steamy day in Silver River.

Silver River Scene

Thanks for reading and my apologies for taking so long to finish it from last night. For more pics from this and past trips of the Silver River please click the following link: Silver River Slideshow. See you soon with another Views From Our Kayak!!!!

Silver River kayakers


  1. The photos you have posted so far, are excellent. Better than mine, same River, same day.

  2. Worth the wait for the full report. Hopefully some day a monkey will rip some dumba$$'s hand off. Of course, that will only lead to the monkeys being trapped and killed. I've asked many times. How can people who can't read afford a boat?

  3. Dave,
    Once again, thank you for sharing your trips with us. You are an inspiration to get out and paddle.
    My wife and I are paddling the Silver this Sunday. We are both extremely outspoken people and have a HUGE problem with any boaters who disregard the law about feeding the monkeys. I'm half tempted to ram my yak into their boat and throw poo at them to get the point across.If I didnt think it would get into the water, I probably would. These are probably the same people who feed gators and make the waterways that much riskier to paddle. Good question.. how can they afford boats with such a low I.Q.??