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Monday, March 10, 2008

Need a vacation?

Have you ever gotten back from your vacation and think - "Man, I need a vacation to recover from my vacation?!?!" LOL That is how I am feeling today!!!

I am going to try and not bombard you with tooooo many photos - as I think I ended up with 194 total from our "mini vacation" this weekend (and the sad thing is I didn't take as many photos as I normally do!!!)

We left on Thursday to head to Crystal River, FL. The day started out quite lovely - but the weather channel was predicating something much different! So after a 5 hour drive we finally arrive to our camp ground and as we are checking in - the bottom fell out!!!! I mean it was raining!

We decided to ride around for a little while check out the area and wait for the rain to stop - well after about an hour - the rain hadn't stopped yet so we decided to try and find an Internet connection (thank goodness for wireless and laptops!!!). We finally found a signal in this small little town and pulled up the weather channel - man oh man - it wasn't looking good! Hubby made the decision that we were going to go a head and get the tent up even if it was raining... so back to the camp site we went!!! (Needless to say I was praying the whole time for just a little break in the weather!)

As we pulled in we got that small break in the weather and we busted butt to get camp set up!We got our tent up, the bed made and then it started raining again! So we decided the heck with trying to cook at camp as the rain had now turned into thunderstorms!!! So off to dinner we went!!!

We got up on Friday morning to a VERY wet and soggy day! It was extremely overcast and WINDY!!!! I was soooo worried that they were going to cancel our Manatee tour due to the weather!!! We headed on out to the bay to meet our boat and Cpt. (Did I happen to mention it was WINDY?!?!)

Our Cpt arrived and she was awesome!!! We were suppose to have three others with us on the tour that day - but they didn't show - so it ended up just being Hubby, me and the Cpt Doreen! Now that is what you call a "private" tour for sure!!!

We headed out into Kings Bay - Cpt Doreen was a little worried about the weather and the effect that it was going to have on the Manatees - so we went to the "Three Sisters Springs" which is this awesome springs that makes this incredible cove. Her thought was if we were sheltered from the wind and the weather - the manatees may be around and more playful... and there is where we had our first encounter with the Manatees!!!

Even though we were under tornado warnings - this was the coolest thing ever!!! The sky was overcast but overall the temperature wasn't too bad and the water was still pretty clear! I could go on and on and on about how awesome it was to swim and play with the manatees. They are like huge puppies! They love to have their bellies rubbed, the love to give you kisses and hugs... they like to try and sneak up on you - it was incredible!! But instead of rambling on and on- here are just a few of the photos that we took!

Can you say "Up close and personal?" LOL

This is me with one of the babies!

This is hubby with one of the manatees!

This is hubby scratching one if the cows... she liked it sooo much she actually turned over on her back!!! LOL

This manatee loved hanging out at our boat ladder! He liked to be petted on his head!

This is me again (whew I kind if look like a manatee in that wetsuit!!! Bahahaha).

After spending about 5 and a half hours swimming with the manatees and riding around the bay- the weather starting turning a little ugly so we headed back to the dock for lunch! About twenty minutes after we ate lunch - the bottom let lose -and I mean it STORMED!!!!!

I think all in all we ended up with several inches of rain and 25 to 30 mile per hour winds - the night was rough! But our tent man - it held out and kept us safe, warm and even dry!!!!

The next morning - the skies were clear but the temperature was dropping so we decided that we had had enough of camping and that we would spend the night in our own bed that night!!!! So we packed up camp and headed out!

Before heading out of town we went to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park - and even though there was still 20 mile per hour winds we were able to see most of the animals and visit with even more manatees!!!! It was probably the best state park I have ever visited in my life!!!

Due to the storms the night before, all the rain that had fallen, a westerly wind and a high tide - the spring was out of its bank - so we actually had the rare treat of seeing the manatees come up to the bank and eat the vegetation that they normally couldn't reach!!!!

Let me tell you - this was a trip and an experience of a lifetime!!! If you EVER have the chance to go to Crystal River, FL - I can not stress to you how AMAZING this experience was!!! Hubby and I have done some pretty cool things together - white water rafting, we went snorkeling in St. Lucia, jetsking, panning for gold in the Mountains, treasure hunting on the beach - I mean all kind of cool stuff... but so far this has been the coolest thing either one of us have ever done!!!

So there you have it - a small recap of our trip!!! I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos and reading about our encounter!!!

Make sure you come back tomorrow as I have a very exciting announcement to make!!!

Until Next Time!



Anonymous,  March 10, 2008 at 11:07 AM  

Lori these are awesome pictures. It is good to hear you made it home safely, and had a wonderful time.

scrappinmama March 10, 2008 at 12:02 PM  

Sounds like,even though you had the rain, you had a great time. Thanks for sharing with us. I really enjoyed the pictures!

Anonymous,  March 10, 2008 at 4:20 PM  

Lori, I loved swimming with the manatees! It has been several years ago, I know at one time they discussed stopping this. But like you .. I think it has to be the most memorable time I have ever spent. We have adopted a manatee for about the last 20 years or so thru the Save the Manatee Club.

Anonymous,  March 10, 2008 at 6:54 PM  

Your pictures are fanstastic. Thank you for sharing your mini vacation!

TammyB March 10, 2008 at 8:53 PM  

Great pictures - it's sounds like a great time! Sorry about the rain - I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to camp in a tent if it were thundering.

Robin March 10, 2008 at 9:37 PM  

Lori those pictures are fantastic. Unfortunately, Florida, camping and rain all go together, LOL. Glad you had a good time though. I do miss Florida for those types of activities.

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