|Just above Homosassa Springs State Park|
Riversport Kayak is located inside the Homosassa Riverside Resort and is right on a canal, with its own launch site. Bring your own kayak and you can launch there for free. Mark rented a Wilderness Systems Pungo 140 and I rented a Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145.
Canals and river branches all tend to look similar, but there is a great landmark for the Homosassa Riverside Resort canal - Monkey Island. Monkey Island started life as a pile of rocks which occasionally gave unsuspecting boaters an unpleasant experience. In the 1960's the pile was built up to make it more visible. Mr. Furgason, a local developer, added a lighthouse to the barren island. Later, he decided it would be the perfect home for his monkeys.
Every time I pass by Monkey Island I'm amazed that the monkeys remain there. Look how close those keep-away buoys are to the island. And the cedar trees have branches that lean out over the water. It seems like it would be an overwhelming temptation for a spider monkey to leap from the tree to a passing boat, but I guess they don't and no boat ever gets too close. ( I never test the theory, because having a terrified toothed creature on a kayak with me seems like a pretty bad idea, but surely someone else is more foolish than me...)
Anyway further along the river, by a tiny canal, is a sign for Manatee Pub. It's nice to see that the manatees have a quiet place to gather.
And just a few miles up river from Monkey Island is the outlet from Homosassa Spring, which comes directly from Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. There, in the warm out-flowing water, wild manatee gather. Overseeing them and protecting them are a crew of volunteer monitors in kayaks. On the day we were there, about a dozen manatee stretched across the river - guarded by three alert volunteers in kayaks who approached us and instructed us on good manatee etiquette.
|A collection of manatee outside the park|
We talked to several kayak volunteers; watched as one scooped up garbage flowing by ("Bud fish," he called them), learned one was from Mark's hometown, but did we take any pictures? I guess not.
The outlet from the state park spring is fenced off, but the river continues on a short way, under a bridge and into a quiet neighborhood. That's where we spotted this alligator snapper, nicely outlined against the algae.
We also followed a few canals along the trip, exploring these quiet passages.
Then it was back to talk to Don at Riversports.