It's fairly hilly right where I live because it's the edge of a major fault line and was also covered by a tremendous sea. If you want flat, you will need to go to my Cedar Key thread, and even there they have enough hills to keep me constantly changing my bicycle gears.
The area leading up to Devils Millhopper is fairly flat until you get to the edge of the hole. Then the bottom literally drops out from underneath.
I recently traveled to a spring on the Suwannee, not far from where the river made famous by Stephen Foster empties into the Gulf of Mexico. This was a spring I had never visited before and I was hoping to see something special.
This particular spring is a First Magnitude level, meaning it discharges at least sixty-five million gallons of water per day. It is one of thirty-three First Magnitude springs in the state of Florida and, like the others, the temperature of the water as it comes out of the ground is a steady 72 degrees F year round.
In case you haven't guessed, this is Manatee Springs and I had a thought, due to the recent frigid weather, manatees may have congregated near the spring waters in an effort to keep warm.
They've got to be better than mine. I couldn't get very close and it was freezing out there on the Suwannee.
I've actually been swimming at Crystal River with manatees. It was not my idea, but I suppose I'm glad I did it. We wore wetsuits due to the cold weather, and had snorkels, flippers, and masks. You are not supposed to touch the manatees, but I did have a few brush up against me. I also swam into one, as I didn't realize it was in front of me. They are very gentle creatures and usually move very slowly. I have to say its really freaky to be swimming alomg and come face to face with one, as they are really very large.
Besides the cold weather, the greatest danger to manatees is from boat propellers. It used to be rare to find a manatee without scars from encounters with boats. I hope things have improved for this endangered species, but the last census I read listed approximately 2000 West Indian manatees left.
SEFFNER, Fla. — In a matter of seconds, the earth opened under Jeff Bush's bedroom and swallowed him up like something out of a horror movie. About the only thing left was the TV cable running down into the hole.
Bush, 37, was presumed dead Friday, the victim of a sinkhole — a hazard so common in Florida that state law requires home insurers to provide coverage against the danger.
The sinkhole, estimated at 20 feet across and 20 feet deep, caused the home's concrete floor to cave in around 11 p.m. Thursday as everyone in the Tampa-area house was turning in for the night. It gave way with a loud crash that sounded like a car hitting the house and brought Bush's brother running.
Htmb -Even more stunning photos , the blues and greens of the spring are just beautiful. Your photos of the manatees are just fabulous too.
I have been snorkelling/ swimming in the Crystal river too many years ago, but when I was there it was very murky ( Sept) and I only just saw dark shapes and was occasionally bumped too. After seeing all your alligator photos I am not sure I would ever get back in the water in Florida.
The news of the death of the man whose home was affected by a sinkhole was reported here in England too - very sad.
Yes, the sinkhole swallowing house made the news everywhere. The thought of lying in bed and your whole bedroom being sucked down in to hell is hard to imagine was one of the major scenes in "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
With all the media exposure about the sinkhole in Tampa, Fla. I was able to thanks to this thread HTMB, speak intelligently about the topic this weekend several times. As we speak, there is an active sinkhole, here in LA , growing day by day.....
Thanks, Lugg! Yes, the water at Crystal River was murky when I was swimming with the manatees there, also.
Interesting, Casimira. I've been in the Washington, DC/Virginia area for the last several days, but the woman from Charlotte, NC sitting next to me on the plane into Gainesville also mentioned the sinkhole accident. Poor guy. What a horror for him and his family members.
Since the first of March I've been hearing that our local rivers are flooding their banks due to heavy rainfall in south Georgia. I also heard there had been manatees spotted in the Ichetucknee River, a rare occurrence, so I decided to drive up to the area and check it out.
At the Hwy 47 bridge I could see the water on the Santa Fe River was pretty high. This area is just below River Rise, which is where the Santa Fe resurfaces after flowing underground for three miles.
I drove to the west until I came to the Ichetucknee. As a reminder, the Ichetucknee flows into the Santa Fe. I drove into the southern entrance of the state park and walked down towards the river. Through the trees, in what should be dry areas, I could see water. Lots of water!
The take-out ramp was under water and the section of ramp that is supposed to keep tubers from floating downstream in the fast current was also submerged. Fortunately, this part of the river had been closed to tubers, though it was still open to kayaks and canoes.
Forecasters are predicting the Santa Fe will crest soon, after rising another foot or two, and then water levels should begin to drop. Water will stop backing up into the Ichetucknee and all should return to normal for awhile.
I talked to a few kayakers who had spotted a few manatee, and who also reported seeing some very large fish. As I mentioned earlier, it is very rare to see manatee in the Ichetucknee because of the large shoals where the river flows into the Santa Fe. Most of the time it is impossible for manatee to cross over the rocks.
I hadn't really expected to see any manatee on the Ichetucknee myself since I wasn't out in my kayak, however, as I was standing on the floating dock, look what floated on by...
Just wonderful photos htmb, what a beautiful area to explore. Is Blue Hole a swimming area?
We used to go out on the lake in our canoe with our black lab Jacob, he just loved it when he would see my husband slipping it into the lake. He would sit in between us as we paddled along, you could tell he was afraid to move but there was no way he was being left at the dock.
Thank you, Mich. Blue Hole is a first magnitude spring and feeds the Ichetucknee River. It has an underwater cave system that divers explore, but it isn't really a place for regular swimming due to the sensitive plant life. I wrote about it starting here Blue Hole
When I was a child we had neighbors about 1/2 mile away who liked to leave the windows down on their Cadillac. One of our labs would go for a swim and, while still wet, would jump through their car window and take a snooze in the back seat.
Ah, yes, I can understand how years of over populating the area with non traditional activities would sour the ecosystem. Going for a swim does look awfully tempting though.
I will have to take some photos of the Narrows at the end of our bay this summer. The two areas have some similarities. I was always fearful that my chocolate lab, Jebidiah, would leap from the boat as we puttered through as there were always turtles and frogs leaping from the lily pads or sunning themselves on the rocks.
Dogs are such charmers, I can imagine yours jumping into the back seat for a snooze, the seats were probably nice and warm for a good snuggle.
Isn't there a song that goes something like "do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?" That's what goes through my mind when I look at this astounding thread of yours, Htmb. You have managed to not only make us really look, but to also appreciate and wonder at the beauty & richness of what in lesser hands would have come across as simply some pretty water and swamp.
Too many brilliant pics to cite each one that's exceptionally great, but I have to say that the last one in #169 will make me happy all day long.
Thank you for your kind words, bixa. It all just kind of evolved from the beauty we have here locally.
Yesterday was interesting to me in many ways, but one I haven't mentioned was the diversity of languages I heard spoken out in the middle of the woods. I probably saw fifty people over the course of a few hours. Besides hearing many good old North Florida rural accents, I heard both German and French spoken by two different groups. I also heard accents that sounded British/English as a couple floated by in a canoe, and observed one young family I believe was from India. I thought that was pretty cool.