Manatees of the St Johns River, FL

In late November we had the pleasure of spending a few weeks on the St Johns River. There are many sections where you have to cruise at slow or idle speed because the Manatees are traveling to the warmer (72 deg) waters of the springs. One of the very popular is Blue Springs. They might be as many as 100 Manatees in there on a cold day. So at some point they will be traveling S on the river.

We stopped to photograph a fairly large alligator…and Jim called to me that he saw a Manatee. So we shut down the boats engine and drifted. Sure enough a female Manatee surfaced.


We were surprised to see a very small one with her….and even more surprised to see two.


We thought we had found a female with twins. The little one surfaced together.


and then they dove under the boat (we were glad the motor was off) and continued an S towards Blue Springs.

If you are on the for these wide flat swirls. It wont be long before you’ll spot a nose or a back. Just sit quiet and wait.


The area between Hontoon Island and Blue Springs is especially busy as the Manatees leave the springs to feed and then return. Be very vigilant and travel very slow. If you look at many Manatees you will start to notice all the prop marks on them.

Luckily this one didn’t have any major scars.


But this Manatee..seen at Salt River Run Springs  a few weeks earlier wasn’t so lucky.


If you really want a thrill…rent a canoe from the Springs. The Manatees are very friendly and curious and will even come over to investigate you. In this photo we are in our inflatable dingy.


Take your time on the river to slow down and give these big beautiful slow moving animals a chance to enjoy you…enjoying them.

Barred Owl

On our last trip up the St Johns River, we stopped at Hontoon Island and docked for the night. They have a nice museum and a video you should definitely watch if you are in the area. They have campsites and cabins for rent.

We took a short walk up the trail …039cs towards the Indian Shell Mounds and spotted this Barred Owl.


It was quite content to sit there for a few pictures..


I had my small poodle with me…she’s about the size of a small rabbit. Perhaps that was the attraction and kept it in the area. I can’t tell if it’s licking it’s chops or not.


I was surprised at how large the Barred Owl is, and that it has brown eyes where most other owls eyes are yellow.