Homeward Bound

After three wonderful days visiting friends in Tampa, FL, we’re back on the road again, this time heading up the Florida coast to the gulf town of Crystal River, Florida, famous for their manatee tours.  A manatee (also known as a sea cow), is a gentle mammal found in the warm clear waters along the gulf coast of Florida.  They move up into the warmer waters of the natural springs during cool weather, so this is the perfect time of year to see these gentle giants.

A few images taken from our kayaks while paddling in Three Sisters Spring:

manatee 1 IMG_6734 manatee 2 IMG_6768 manatee 3 IMG_6756IMG_6737 manatee

Also in Crystal River, FL, is the Manatee Education Center.  This is a “must see” if you’re in the area.  It includes a boat ride through a protected watershed, to an area where endangered and rescued animals from the Florida habitat are on display.  A few (and I do mean only a few) of the animals we observed and enjoyed on our visit:

River ecosystem:

manatee edu ctr 1 IMG_0909

Swans and egrets:

manatee edu ctr 2 IMG_0936

Alligator:

manatee edu ctr 4 IMG_0971

Bobcat:

manatee edu ctr 5 IMG_1011

Birds of prey:

manatee edu ctr 6 IMG_1070 manatee edu ctr 7 IMG_1056 manatee edu ctr 9 IMG_1079

Endangered Red Wolf:

manatee edu ctr 8 IMG_1086

After our day of encounter with wildlife, we watched a wonderful sunset over the Gulf of Mexico:

manatee edu ctr 10 IMG_1101

IMG_1130 sunset

Moon over Miami (almost):

IMG_6613 moon

Our campsite at Crystal River, AdventureDavid’s truck camper and our pop-up at Crystal Isle RV Resort:

manatee camp IMG_1142

And so, it’s time we split up and head our separate ways home.  Our route takes us up the gulf coast of Florida to the town of Port St. Joe, Florida.  This is one of the best-kept secrets of the gulf coast.  The beaches are spectacular, as are the sunsets:

st joe beach 2 IMG_1144 st joe beach IMG_1148 st joe sunset IMG_1166

Too bad it was 47 degrees…we wanted to go for a swim!

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texasflashdude

Photography and Travel, specifically adventure travel and backpacking in remote North America, give me an excuse to stay outside. If kayaks, bikes, backpacks, Jeeps, archeology, geology and wildlife can be included, all the better. Having spent my life working in the fashion and photography industries, I love the unusual, the spectacular, and the beautiful. God has given us a wonderful world in which to live, and I try to open others’ eyes to its wonders. I have shared nearly 50 years of this indescribable wonder with my wife, Jodie, and we go everywhere together. I hope you will share some of our journey with us.

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