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Crystal River - Last manatee trip for the season

  • Feb 23, 2013 · 9:00 AM
  • Hunter Springs Park

the manatees will be heading out to the gulf in the following weeks. One last trip for the season. I will check on the camp sites at Rainbow State Park. I'd like to meet at Hunter's Park at 9 am this time, but the time may change, depending on the tides.

After the paddle, we will converge on our favorite place for lunch - Crackers!

what to bring:

Kayak, paddle, pdf

Wet Suit – can be rented from Diver Supply on St. Johns Bluff Road.

You might want booties and gloves also.

Mask, snorkel and fins

Water and snacks

Water camera

There are rules that are governing being around the manatees which I will go over before heading out, but please review the video in this link, as it addresses the "do and do not" state rules regarding the manatees. http://www.fws.gov/crystalriver/

This paddle is wonderful, and the manatees are friendly! We always have fun and leave with memories that last.

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  • vickie

    Manatee festival would be fun. Hopefully it will be cold as the colder temperatures bring more manatee in to the warmer springs. This winter has been warm which affected the manatee count a bit. After kayaking I went to the Manatee visitor center & enjoyed learning quite a lot. There is also a visitor center down the road at Homasossa Springs, but I didn't have time to check it out. They have an underwater camera where you can watch the Manatee while staying dry!! Anyone who goes back may also want to go to the Crystal River Archelogical Center just around the corner from the Days Inn. Spent 2 hrs. there Sat. & really enjoyed it! Many artifacts there were from that Indian site as far back as 600BC. Mr. Roberts really knew his history, and provided several fasinating demonstrations. Would do a group lecture I am sure. Hope to see you all again soon, Vickie

    February 24, 2013

  • Linda

    Had a great time on the water and meeting new people - even got to see some manatees which was great. It was a long drive for just a few hours of paddling but I'm still happy i went. Linda's idea of planning a multi day trip during the manatee festival next January sounds awesome!

    February 24, 2013

  • Linda

    did anyone end up with an extra life jacket? I'm one short!
    other than that, this was a great trip. I was wonderfule seeing everyone again and meeting new people.

    February 23, 2013

  • sue

    It was so nice meeting all of you..I had a wonderful time

    February 23, 2013

  • Suzanne V.

    We are at Days Inn, gonna head out to Crystal River Ale House, call me at[masked] if interested.

    February 22, 2013

  • sue

    So we are meeting at the days inn?
    What time? About 8

    February 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      We are at Days Inn now. we are going to eat at Crystal River Ale Housecall me at[masked]

      February 22, 2013

  • Suzanne V.

    Ale house anyone?

    February 22, 2013

  • vickie

    Hi all! At days inn, if anyone wants 2 meet 4 a drink before dinner call[masked], vickie stevens

    February 22, 2013

  • Linda

    okay, we are just leaving. problems at home. if anyone wants to exchange numbers and get together in the lobby, call me and I will get intouch with everyone. [masked]

    I will let you know when we get there! and brenda - NO FAIR!

    February 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      It was so good

      February 22, 2013

  • sue

    Get gas before you leave, its 397 a ga herel...ouch

    February 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    My wife fell ill today. We were planning to drive down tonight. I need to check out. :(

    February 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    This time tomorrow night I'll be in my sleeping bag, either in my hammock, on my Therma-Rest, or in my Volkswagen if rain sneaks in. Rainbow Springs State Park looks to be the best economy route, unless it fills up before I arrive. Looking forward to the Manatee potential, as well as my 1st Jacksonville Meetup. Be safe getting there everyone ~

    February 21, 2013

  • verne s.

    it will be my first manatee kayak

    February 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    We are at the Holiday Inn Express. Free breakfast before kayaking.

    February 21, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Booked a the Days Inn Friday and Sunday,looks like good weather......can't wait

    February 21, 2013

  • sue

    I am so excited.. I'm have been kayakin with my sister last yr..but nothing like this

    February 21, 2013

  • Linda

    my cell is[masked] - for those who are going to be there Friday night, give a call and we'll get together for dinner and some socializing fun!

    1 · February 21, 2013

  • Linda

    looks like we are going to have great weather!!! I am looking forward to this and seeing everyone. I ask that everyone do a double check to make sure you don't forget anything.

    February 21, 2013

  • vickie

    Just booked the Days Inn, thanks for the tips all. Will probably be there Fri-Mon so keep me posted on dining locations when room for 1 more. Should be fun!

    February 20, 2013

  • Regina

    too far for one day effort, so will know to plan on more time there next year :)

    February 20, 2013

  • Lindsay S. A.

    I've been scheduled to work. But if you still need the tandem kayak I can meet you somewhere this week out by the town center.

    February 15, 2013

    • Lindsay S. A.

      Thursday works great, meet you there about 530 tomorrow.

      February 20, 2013

    • Lindsay S. A.

      http://www.thedailysh...­ just for laughs before you head out

      1 · February 20, 2013

  • Gina J.

    I was just at The Three Sisters this past weekend with my kayak. There is a T.I.N.Y spot of land where you can bank your kayak. I suggest that someone have an anchor and rope to tie together your kayaks since there is a large group. We were able to rent an anchor at the shop at The Port Hotel for $3.00. They also have wetsuits and snorkling stuff for rent too.

    February 19, 2013

    • Linda

      already have it coverred... but thak you Gina!

      February 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was thinking of camping night before also. Is there any reason to camp at Rainbow State Park over Crystal River State Park? 18 mile drive Sat. morn to Crystal River then right? 1st time with Manatees paddling other than week ago at Blue Spring, enjoyed them from afar, no sightings in open waters. Is a wetsuit/snorkel to be brought along for use during day sometime? Looking forward to 1st meetup with Jacksonville group. Gina, 1/2 hitch the excess tie down straps till there's nothing to flap.

    February 19, 2013

    • Linda

      thanks for the info, I'll include this place on the next trip.

      February 19, 2013

    • Linda

      the two state parks in Crystal River do not have camping facilities. at least they do not list them on the web site

      February 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm new to Jacksonville and just learned about this trip today. I'm so excited! I'm renting a kayak at Captain Mike's. I live in Neptune Beach and would love to carpool if there's room in someone's car. Is everyone driving down Friday-Sunday?

    February 19, 2013

    • Regina

      Jackie,

      February 19, 2013

    • Regina

      Drive down to St. Augustine and you can ride with me.

      February 19, 2013

  • Rob M.

    Sorry but I need to end up missing this one again. One of these times ill make it. Someone ask the manatees if they might be willing to come to jax.

    February 19, 2013

    • Linda

      I'll ask them... maybe we can do a group to Salt Springs in Ocala.

      February 19, 2013

  • Kathy F.

    Sorry, I am still sick with this cold. Don't have the energy to go :(

    February 19, 2013

    • Linda

      hope you get better!!

      February 19, 2013

  • Regina

    This will be my FIRST outing with this group...I'm looking forward to it. I will be driving from St. Augustine. Anyone going from that area? My car only holds one kayak, but willing to share gas, etc. if you can handle one more kayak and person? Also, I'm assuming if I arrive at Hunter Springs Park by 9:00 I will find everyone?

    February 18, 2013

    • Linda

      YUP! I'll be in a white ford f150 with 4 kayaks. I'm hoping to have them off the truck by then. can't miss us though.

      February 19, 2013

  • Gina J.

    Sort of related to this trip. I just was over at Crystal River this weekend. The vibration sound of my straps holding down my kayak nearly drove me nuts. Does anyone have ideas on how to tie down the kayak so that it doesn't make a ton of noise? I have a tandem kayak that has to lay flat on my seasucker rack.

    February 18, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Use rubber or plastic as a shim to muffle the vibration.

      February 18, 2013

    • Rob M.

      Put a twist or two in your straps. Stops the wind from making them vibrate.

      February 19, 2013

  • Linda

    Rentals from Capt Mike's Becky said to get there between 8:30 and 9:00 am. you can also reserve one by phone with a credit card.

    February 15, 2013

    • Linda

      Okay, just spoke to Becky again - there is a $5 parking fee at Pete's Pier. if you have a trailer, it's $10. maybe those renting can coordinate a ride from Hunters with someone.

      February 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What's the route of travel we will be kayaking? Will we go along the river out to the Gulf?

    February 17, 2013

    • Linda

      we will not be going out into the Gulf. we leave Hunter park, go right past the Marina, and then right under the bridge, into the residential area. from there we head over to Three Sister's Spring. when we head back to Hunters, time and weather permitting, we can head around the marshes..

      February 18, 2013

  • Andrea C.

    sorry can't make it now. Catch you'all next time.

    February 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Might be one more guest

    February 15, 2013

  • Suzanne V.

    Can't wait!

    1 · February 15, 2013

  • Linda

    okay - For anyone needed a kayak. I just spoke to Becky at Capt. Mike's Crystal River Kayak Rentals. they are located at Pete's Pier. They will rent the kayaks ($32) and you can either launch from Pete's Pier and paddle around the corner to Hunter's, or drive them over to Hunter's park to launch. for more information -
    http://www.crystalriverfloridakayakrental.com/index.html

    February 15, 2013

  • Linda

    these rules are pretty common sense, and I want every one to enjoy this unique experience. I look forward to seeing everyone Saturday Morning!!

    February 15, 2013

  • Linda

    One more week and we'll be having fun with the manatees. Please if you have not yet done so, watch the video
    I try to go over the basic rules, but with 33 of us, things get a little hectic at the launch. the important items are the white roped off areas - DO NOT CROSS THEM. there will be white vertical buoys, those are also restricted areas. DO NOT HARASS THE MANATEES - this means, do not chase, do not wake them up. they will swim by and if close enough, it's fine to reach out.
    DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES SEPARATE A BABY FROM IT'S MOTHER! this is like separating a mother elephant from her baby. it's hazardous to your health and well being. these animals are pretty docile, but do not under estimate it.
    there are park rangers in and out of the water that will not hesitate to pull you out and then you are done for the day. Also, there are those that want this activities stopped that will not hesitate to use an incident as "evidence".
    (Continued)

    February 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will it be possible to rent a kayak at Hunter's Park?

    February 13, 2013

    • Linda

      Jonathan - Hunter's park is not a full service park. I am working on a few places. If nothing else, you can ask Joe at First Coast Outfitters; if you don't mind a sit on top, All Wet Sports rents them. if you or anyone in your family is Military, MWR on Mayport Base rents them. I will let you know if anything else gets put in place.

      February 15, 2013

  • Linda

    does anyone have an extra kayak for this trip?

    February 5, 2013

  • Linda

    just book the Days Inn!!

    February 2, 2013

  • Karen M M.

    I wish I could, but I will be unable to make this trip! When do the manatees come back up the rivers again, October?

    January 25, 2013

    • Linda

      November December time frame. we will be doing a trip then! we do this twice a season (Dec - March)

      February 2, 2013

  • Linda

    as far as hotels, Ralph and I are staying at the Days Inn, were we stayed last time. it's on Hotel.com there's also the Ramoda, and a few others and prices go up from there. these are close to Hunter Park also.

    January 9, 2013

    • Kathy F.

      How much was the room at the Days Inn? I plan on staying with a friend, but if I have company.. I may consider the Days Inn..

      January 31, 2013

    • Linda

      the days in is $64 through Hotels.com

      February 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Not sure if this link will work, if it does this is something you will want to see if launching from Hunter Spring Park. Leave the map centered and zoom in as far as possible (my secret manatee spot) - it should show a nice sighting area (see manatees in the photo) that most don't know about and you can usually kayak through... luckily, these satellite photos were taken in the cold months! http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&t=h&msid=213839974024771317544.00048a0dcb14743bdfc62&source=embed&ll=28.891389,-82.592597&spn=0.023897,0.052314&z=15&vpsrc=6

    1 · January 6, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Use the little + in the upper left of the map to zoom in manually.

      January 6, 2013

    • Linda

      we also found some in Hunter springs, not too many, but then there wasn't many people also! the rule there though is not tying up the boats as the properties around it are privately owned. So someone has to stay with the boats. and getting in and out of the kayaks from the water.

      January 10, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    The Port Hotel there is a fun place to stay for an overnight. Group room rates are about $50 a night (bunk together to save costs), and the rooms are "Kayak friendly" on the first floor, just don't mention keeping the boats inside, lol. Ask for the ground floor rooms near the office that face the main spring. They have a boat launch, onsite bar and restaurant, and the main spring is only about 100 yards from the rooms. They also have an onsite dive shop and pontoon boat rentals if you wanted to split rental cost and "barge" a bunch of yaks to the further manatee springs one day. A fun little place. http://www.porthotelandmarina.com/

    January 6, 2013

    • Linda

      just checked, the Port is listing at $70 per night for this time of year.

      January 10, 2013

  • Linda

    there are only 3 spots at the Rainbow River State Park for Friday night, more for Saturday.

    January 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    See my 2nd post a bit below this one. Port Hotel is fun, definitely not the Ritz, but inexpensive and everything you need (including a bar, restaurant, dive shop, and boat launch) is onsite. Best to try to get a group rate if you go that route. Launch is right outside of the rooms. Even Elvis stayed there!

    January 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I don't, I just don't know of any hotels nearby. Any suggestions?

    January 8, 2013

  • Linda

    does anyone plan on camping on this trip??

    January 8, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am a maybe on this one, will confirm closer to the date.

    January 6, 2013

  • Kathy F.

    Hello Everyone. I just bought a used Scuba Pro Wet suit shorty.. for $15.00 at IDIVE SHOP, 854 Anastasia Blvd, St. Augustine, FL [masked]-6096...If anyone is interested in getting one for this trip.
    My suit I bought online ripped and can't seem to find anyone that repairs it.. It ripped on the seam. Let me know if anyone knows of a place or I will take Linda up on her offer to sew it for me.. I was tolded once sewed, I can put scuba glue on it.. and I will be selling it..

    January 2, 2013

  • Michael H.

    Changing my plans to dive this venue on the same weekend. Hope to see you there!

    January 2, 2013

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