Category Archives: Crystal River

Crystal River – October 19, 2015

Met up with an out-of-state friend passing through Florida down at Crystal River. She only had time for a short trip so we paddled out to Three Sisters Springs then around the nearby canals.   With the weather cooling off we saw lots of manatee and a few water birds.

If you have only a short time at Crystal River, we suggest you put in (or rent) at the Crystal River Kayak Co. dock.  From there it is only a 10-minute paddle down canals to the entrance to 3 Sisters Springs.  Depending on the weather you may or may not be able to paddle into the actual springs area.  If you can’t there are ropes outside to tie off your kayak then you can wade/swim up the entrance into the springs area.  However, when the weather gets very cold the Refuge may close off the area entirely so the manatee can rest without being disturbed.

Entering 3 Sister Springs area.

Entering 3 Sister Springs area.

One manatee surfaced for a breath right next to me.

One manatee surfaced for a breath right next to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manatee in 3 Sisters Springs

Manatee in 3 Sisters Springs

Manatee in 3 Sisters Springs

Manatee in 3 Sisters Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immature Little Blue Heron (They turn blue near the end of their second year.)

Immature Little Blue Heron (They turn blue near the end of their second year.)

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Crystal River – October 6, 2015

I have a long-time hiking buddy who teaches at a university in Taiwan.  A few weeks ago she told me one of her former students would be giving a presentation on some rehabilitation training she was doing with a manatee at a conference in the US and spending some time in Florida before heading home.  This student, Mina, is a dolphin trainer in Taiwan and was traveling with her sister Tina.  Mina works with a manatee at her facility, but had never see one in the wild.

My first suggestion was for Mina to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.  I figured since CRNWR was the only Refuge established specifically for manatee protection and I had a couple of non-manatee contacts with USFWS it would be a fantastic opportunity for one of the researchers there and Mina to get together – one professional to another.  But no such luck, Mina never even got a response to her emails or letter.

So I agreed to met up with Mina and Tina at the resort they were staying at and we drove down to Crystal River on a quest to find a wild manatee.  I brought down 2 kayaks and we rented a third one from Crystal River Kayak Company and we all paddled out to Three Sisters Springs and around through the canals and back, seeing several manatee along the way, including a mother and calf.  The water was a bit murky, though, from several days of rain so the pictures we took were not that great.

When we came back Mary Morgan, owner of Crystal River Kayak Company, was in the shop. While Mina and Tina shopped for manatee souvenirs to take home I chatted with Morgan, complaining a bit about the water quality and not getting any good pictures of the manatee.  So when I introduced Mina to Morgan as a manatee trainer, she arranged a spots for Mina and Tina on her manatee tour boat trip the next morning – free of charge – where they saw even more manatee and Mina was able to get a nice video in clearer water than we found on our paddle.  We all had such a nice time, and thank you Mary Morgan, for inviting them on your manatee tour boat trip.

Mina in 3 Sisters Springs

Mina in 3 Sisters Springs

Tina at 3 Sisters Springs entrance

Tina at 3 Sisters Springs entrance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manatee in canal

Manatee in canal

Manatee and calf in canal

Manatee and calf in canal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fish at 3 Sisters Springs

Fish at 3 Sisters Springs

Fish in 3 Sisters Springs

Fish in 3 Sisters Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inquisitive Anhninga sunning on a limb.

Inquisitive Anhninga sunning on a limb.

Double-crested Cormorant on Manatee sign

Double-crested Cormorant on Manatee sign

Crystal River – May 20, 2015

We made a trip down to Crystal River, FL today.  Our primary mission was to see about repairs on a couple of our Swift paddles and elicit some repair advice from Aardvark’s Florida Kayak Company, but we did a little 2-hour paddle in the afternoon after visiting both kayak shops in town.

Starting from Crystal River Kayak Company’s dock ($5 launch fee and they also have rentals) we paddled out to Three Sisters Springs. Three spring vents in a little grotto off a maze of man-made canals lined with houses, the grotto is now part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.   The water is about 25-30 feet deep in these pics.  We saw one manatee cruising the area.

Paddling under the road to get to the springs

Paddling under the road to get to the springs

Floating above Three Sisters Springs

Floating above Three Sisters Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manatee in Three Sisters Springs

Manatee in Three Sisters Springs

Manatee in Three Sisters Springs

Manatee in Three Sisters Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snorkling in Three Sisters Springs

Snorkling in Three Sisters Springs

Underwater shot of the deepest of the spring vents.

Underwater shot of the deepest of the spring vents.