Hey-o! So I will be the first to admit that I can be soooo bad when it comes to posting 'on time.' I swear, if I post vacation pics within a month of returning home from said trip I'll think I'm doing great! Ha!
Well suffice to say here at the end of the month, I had a really great time in mid-January visiting my mama (and stepdad) in Lake Placid, Florida and then touristing around Winter Park, Inverness, and Crystal River on a little excursion for just the two of us. Partially due to the fact that I am an only child, my mom and I are the best travel buddies and we're always looking for something new and different to do.
We decided to road trip around central to west coast Florida, during which we stayed in two cute B 'n B's and ate all kinds of yummy vegan and veggie meals at various restaurants. Mom and I filled our days visiting a few art collections, as well as taking a boat tour of Winter Park and a 22 mile bike trip on a greenway through Inverness, and (my favorite!) kayaking to swim with the wintering manatees in Crystal River. Such a full few days!!
The Tiffany Glass Collection:
So down in Crystal River a magical thing happens every year - the manatees congregate by the hundreds next to the warm springs during the colder winter months. Mom and I rented a double kayak, wetsuit, snorkel etc at a spot right by the springs and got to paddle out to the sanctuary. Mama didn’t get in but I swam around with the friendly guys for about 45 mins and it was so incredible!!
As you can see in the pic there are restricted areas so any manatees that are sleeping or don’t want to interact won’t be bothered, but when we arrived there was another tour boat with snorkelers and that guide was familiar with the specific manatees so when a super friendly young one approached me he told me the manatee was craving a belly scratch! I started scratching his back a lil and sure enough he turned and gave me his belly!! He felt like what I imagine an elephant would feel like:):)
Of course I was so excited when I got home I decided to paint a little manatee in gouache to hang in my studio (above).
Enjoy 45 seconds of underwater manatee excitement! All I had to film with was one of those waterproof iPhone bag thingies so don't expect Spielberg, though I did get a few nice shots showing how docile and calm they are (and you might even catch a floating dreadlock too ;) ).
originally published January 28, 2018