Location:Crystal River, Florida
by Karen Brown
Today we paddled our Cobra kayaks along the Crystal River, looking for manatees. We wore our wetsuits and paddling vests. We carried our masks,fins, and snorkels and cameras with us on the kayaks. (Our kayaks have lots of room to store our equipment.)
We decided to head towards the springs at Three Sisters because we have played with manatees there before. Also we like it there because the water is clear and calm.
As we left the dock we saw some brown pelicans flying overhead. Then we saw some more brown pelicans resting in a tree on a very small island in the middle of the river.
We kept looking for manatees on our way to Three Sisters but we didn't see any. We thought that maybe we weren't seeing any because they were all way back in the farthest area on the springs and not out in the river on the way to the springs.
We paddled our kayaks along a narrow passageway that leads to the springs. We still did not see any manatees. Since the water there is clear, calm and shallow we would have seen them if they were there.
We went all the way to the farthest part and still no manatees! (Maybe you would like to guess why there were not any manatees anywhere along the way. I will give you a hint: look at "Today's Data" for the answer.)
Even though we didn't see any manatees, we did see some other wildlife. We saw a mother duck and her ducklings. They were so cute! There were 10 fuzzy ducklings all moving in and out of the water. The mother had a hard time keeping track of all of them. One time when they were all in the water, 5 of the ducklings turned around and started to follow Wayne's kayak. I guess they thought his kayak was a big yellow mother duck! He waved his hand and they quickly turned back to follow their mother.
Then we saw a great blue heron, about 3 feet tall. We had to move very slowly and silently to get close to see it. It just stood very still and did not move.
Even though we didn't see any manatees today, we still had a nice time enjoying the beautiful scenery and watching the birds.
Mother duck looking after her ducklings.
Mother duck swims behind her ducklings.
A three foot tall blue heron has flown into the springs for the night.