Two’s Company Three’s a Crowd

What is a Crowd?

Manatee

If two’s company and three’s a crowd what is a group of five? That’s what we were drifting along with the Manatee. It wasn’t long before two more boats joined us and these were not little tours. I was having trouble keeping track of my group. So were my fellow snorkelers so we left our manatee friend and headed back to our boat.

Jurassic SpringsJurassic Springs

Our next stop was at Jurassic Springs. It was just a bulge in the  side of the river. There was a pipe marking the boundary. We weren’t sure if a manatee was in there or not.  It was worth taking a short swim to find out. It was much deeper here. The spring was a large crack in the river floor. If you swam down toward the crack the water temperature dropped quickly. Exploration over, there weren’t any manatees. We headed back to the boat.

Sting Ray! Sting Ray!Sting Ray

Slipping back under the pipe we were surprised by a sea going creature we never expected to see. It was a stingray. I don’t know if it got in the river because of the hurricane or if it just wanted a little warm water. The creature didn’t pay us any attention but I couldn’t help thinking of Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter. Steve met his death at the end of a sting ray tail.

Baby Manatee

The Canal held another SurpriseChopping on Rope

Our hour and a half was nearing the end. I have to say this was an A++ tour so far. On our way back we detoured down a side canal. We saw collapsed sea walls caused when the water was drained by the hurricane. We had almost reached the end of the canal when Austin thought he saw a manatee. He left us on the boat while he went in to check. What he found turned this into a 5 star experience. There was a mama manatee and a tiny baby. I use the term tiny loosely. The baby was estimated to be about 50 lbs and looked like a fire plug. He was nibbling on the ropes that dangled from the dock . We had a great time with the baby until the crowd found us. With the arrival of the other tour boats, we made our exit.

Baby Manatee

On The Road to Crystal River

The Road to Crystal River is a long one

Manatee in the Wild

 Crystal River  is about an hour and a half north of Orlando. It gave us a chance to see what Hurricane Irma had done in Central Florida. A few trees here and there and a lot of mangled billboards.  Our tour guide had brought along video tapes to entertain us as well.  She popped in Night at the Museum, Secret of the Tomb. That certainly helped to pass the time.

Get Ready to Get WetMy snorkel buddies

Once in the town of Crystal River we stopped at a small shop to pick up our wet suits. They are $10.00 per suit. I wasn’t sure they would have them to fit me so I brought my own from home. It’s brand new and I was going to christen it with this trip. As Madeline gave instructions for trying on the suits I was really glad I brought my own. She was talking about trying suits on without a bathing suit. Maybe they do that in Florida but we never did that in the cold New England waters. It made me question the hygiene of a rental suit.

Our Dive boat

Pontoon Boats and Manatees

Once we had our wet suits on it was off to the marina. I really lucked out as most of my group was on a large pontoon boat. My boat only took 5 people and I was #5. That meant we pulled out first and got to the first location ahead of the other boats. We spotted one Manatee and the scramble to get  in the water began.

 

Manatee Ahoy

 

getting into the waterWe were given a mask, snorkel and a “noodle”, a long, cylindrical piece of polyethylene foam that makes floating easy. The wet suit also makes you more buoyant. The tricky part is not kicking and using your feet. Splashing and flailing around spooks the manatees. You have to float quietly and move slowly. We were given a long list of do’s and don’ts but I shouldn’t have worried.

 

Manatee swims under the snorkelers

 

The manatees broke the rules right away.  They swam right up to us!

 

Yes I’m still Florida Bound

Heading to Florida In Spite of Irma

I’m Florida Bound after all. I really thought my trip would be cancelled not just postponed. I had this nightmare vision of lounging at the pool while  all around me work went on to repair the hurricane damage. I’m feeling guilty before I even get there! But several things came into play in my decision. The first thing is an all day tour to swim with Manatees.

The Manatees are still at Crystal Springs

manatee and snorkeler

I called the tour first. A very pleasant young woman assured me that the damage wasn’t that bad. They were still running the tours. She promised I would have a great time. She said around Central Florida it was just like a bad rainstorm. The winds weren’t that bad and the biggest gusts were only about 70 mph. She said getting the tourist dollar back into the state was really important too. She was very convincing. Besides I really want to see these gentle giants up close and personal.

Diamond Resort Logo

We Love To Say YES!

Next Call, the Marketing Department of my Resort

My trip was a promotional trip. I had tried to cancel it before but would have incurred huge fees to do so. I was pleasantly surprised when the marketing rep immediately agreed to reschedule. The only problem, he didn’t have anyone to do my “update” (aka sales pitch). Finally he suggested I call another department to see if I could use my points to get a resort. That call went very well. So many people were canceling that they had tons of rooms available. Once more I heard how getting the tourists back was a real necessity. He set me up with another 4 day block. I called back the marketing department and they canceled that trip and agreed to refund my $150.00!

Delta, can you help me?delta airlines

I held my breath as I called Delta Airlines but I shouldn’t have worried. I got a former “Tauntonite”. We compared notes on the changes in Southeastern MA and Logan vs T.F. Green before we tackled the reason for my call. I had a non-refundable ticket that I needed to change. To my pleasant surprise she immediately offered me a new itinerary that worked perfectly with my new dates. Even better she gave me the hurricane waiver so there were no charges or penalties for making the change.

All the little details

Now that the big things were done all of the little details began to fall into place from rental car to pet sitter.

Rocky my cat

 

To have all of this work out this easily must mean I am meant to take this trip. Can’t wait to see the Manatees!

I found the Myopia Horse Show in Hamilton, MA

WELCOME TO THE 2017 MYOPIA HORSE SHOW

Ladies Side Saddle Winners

I haven’t been to a horse show in years with the exception of Equine Affair in 2013. That wasn’t a horse show like I remember them. Still if you have a chance to go and you love horses, it’s worthwhile.

Pinto PonySome Detours bring nice Surprises

I was on my way to Ipswich to check out Wolf Hollow. Traffic wasn’t bad through Boston but once I hit RT 128 we crawled. I’d missed the presentation but figured I’d finish the drive. It would make it easier to find next time I tried. I was almost there when I spotted horses, riders and trailers. The field was packed with cars. I slowed down until I saw a billboard WELCOME TO THE 2017 MYOPIA HORSE SHOW. September 1-3. It was a no-brainier. I pulled in. The nice police officer pointed me to a field and told me to park anywhere. I stayed away from the horse trailers. I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way.

Myopia Hunt Club

The horse show is an event sponsored by the Myopia Hunt Club. Myopia Hunt Club is a foxhunting and private country club, located in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. It’s not all about the horses either. There’s a world class golf course. The U.S Open has been played at the Club four times. But back to the horses, on Sunday afternoons you can watch polo matches. Myopia features one of the oldest continually running polo fields in the nation.

A Perfect Afternoon

This was a good choice. There was no fee to park and no admission fee! The sun out, the temperatures were in the 70’s with a nice breeze. I even managed to get a seat right next to the field. I stayed for Adult Hunters which is a jumping competition and the Ladies Side Saddle, a very elegant and beautiful event. It couldn’t pick a favorite. All of the animals were magnificent! I’m so glad I decided to stop.

 

 

The Great White Sharks are Still Here

Great White Sharks Hang out off Cape Cod

Great white shark swimmingThe sharks of Cape Cod aren’t leaving anytime soon. Our vacations may be over but according to Dr Greg Skomal of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy August and September are active months for our Great Whites.

 It’s been A busy August

With a cool spring Shark season took its time ramping up but August was a busy month.

  • July 31: A Great White tried to snack on one of the research cameras.
  • On August 10: Chatham beach goers watch a real life “Jaws” as a Great White chomped a seal in half in clear view of the beaches.
  • August 11: Whale Watchers spotted 2 Great Whites feasting on a dead minke whale
  • August 12 : A fisherman had his catch stolen by a shark. The video became an internet sensation 
  • August 21 A Shark enjoyed a seal lunch as beach goes looked on
  • August 24 A shark tasted a paddle board off Marconi Beach.

Great White Shark

Staying Safe with Great White Sharks

There are a few things you can do to stay safe with these apex predators in the water. 

  1. Avoid swimming with the seals
  2. Swim or surf in groups
  3. Stay in Shallow water
  4. Don’t wear shiny jewelry

Great White SharkSurvey Says…..

The good news is that even with this shark activity the beach going public remains fascinated by the sharks. The Polls and surveys show that public opinion is against the politician’s ill advised suggestion that the sharks be culled. According to Chatham natives, at least some of the beaches may be monitored by balloons equipped with cameras to provide an early warning system.

 2 More Months

If the past is any indication we’re looking at 2 more months of Great White activity. The season winds down off Cape Cod at the end of October. I guess the Great Whites don’t like our winter weather any more than I do.

White Shark