A second chance for the gators to eat me while floating in a kayak on my Florida vacation. This time, we are floating the Silver River at Silver Springs State Park. The big attraction here – there is a colony of monkeys that were introduced to the area by a tour operator in the 1930s (there is an urban legend that they were released during the filming of a Tarzan movie). There is a bit of a controversy surrounding the monkeys – they have been trapping and removing them from the area due to the health hazards they present.
On our quest to find the monkeys, we hoped to find some big gators to photograph, and to see other cool wildlife along the way.
We set this float up to be a round-trip drifting downstream a bit, and then paddling upstream to return to the cars. One disadvantage to this – you are working hardest against the current at the end of the day, but it did not turn out to be a big deal.
This is the launch at the upper end of the river.
The float starts out in a bit of a backwater with very little current. It was a very pleasant paddle. The easy stuff made our trip into a loop…If we would have looped the other direction we would not have had to paddle upstream at all.
Early on we saw this big turtle sunning on a log.
There have been various tours operating in this area since the late 1800s. Along the shore were all sorts of old buildings that have not been used for quite some time.
paddling down to the main river.
Big tree with lots of moss.
An American Anhinga drying it’s wings.
A baby gator sunning on some grass. Almost missed him.
While checking out the baby gator, this Little Blue Heron landed and started walking toward the baby gator. I stuck around to see if anything interesting would happen.
Gator on the left, turtles and heron on the right. The bird did not get close to the gator.
This is the main river…much larger than the last float.
We met a nice guy who had paddled all up and down the river today and had not seen the monkeys. He recommended that we turn back upstream because the current was pretty tough. So, we ended our quest to find the monkeys. Turns out it wasn’t too bad for us. As he floated by, he pointed out this gator that we had missed on the shore.
I’ve already posted Great Blue Heron shots…this one was kinda cool because I caught him ruffling his feathers.
A bigger gator hanging out on some floating grass. Check out those teeth!
This little gator smiled for the picture. I was surprised that the turtles would stick around so close to him.
Biggest gator of the trip. He was near the headwaters at the spring, really close to the current resort.
Big gator from a different angle.