Manatee at Blue Spring
During the cooler months, manatees flock to Blue Spring run to enjoy the relatively warmer water the spring provides. These docile animals gather sometimes by the hundreds to frolic and graze. The average manatee is from 8 to 11.5-foot long and can weight up to 1,300 pounds. Since they are mostly herbivores, they need to eat up to 10% of their body weight each day to maintain their metabolism. In the wild, a manatee can live an estimated 28-30 years. Snooty, a captive manatee (who just recently passed away) was 69 at the time of his death due to an unfortunate accident. Moms give birth to usually a single calf after a gestation period of around 12-14 months. The calf and mom stay together for up to two years. The dad’s don’t contribute to the raising of the calves.
The adventure begins just outside of Blue Spring park at the public boat ramp (no facilities). Directions will be provided upon booking. After a paddling lesson and safety briefing, we will paddle the quarter mile or so to the park’s beach where we’ll land our kayaks. (When manatees or in the run, the park closes it off to all boat traffic and swimming). Walking along the well-constructed boardwalk we can watch these gentle giants. After continuing our tour, we’ll paddle up Snake Creek passing places where it looks like no human has walked in over hundreds of years. In fact, you really expect to see a member of the ancient Timucua, who lived in this area since 3,000 BC, step out on the banks.
About this paddle
This paddle requires no previous experience and is suitable for everyone. Please understand that manatees are in the area year-round, but the concentrations of them are highest during the winter months. During the spring, summer, and fall the animals are far fewer in number. Like all our tours, nothing is scripted, and we don’t have the ability to call animals out on demand. Sometimes (often times) we get to see an amazing assortment of Florida wildlife in their natural environment. However, this being nature, nothing is guaranteed.
What to bring, what’s provided
What’s provided: Kayak, personal floatation device (PFD), paddle, drinking water, and chemical lights.
What to bring: bug spray and sunscreen of your choosing, beverages (other than water (please note: no alcohol during the tour)), shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting wet.
3 1/2 Hour Tours Tuesday – Sunday 8 am – 11:30 am, or 1:30 pm – 5 pm