If you have not heard of Crystal River, Florida, you are not alone. Recently I traveled to this lovely, secluded place to make a podcast and to find out what keeps two vibrant young women in this small town. Seemingly, the town would not have that much to offer. Wow was I wrong.
I had the pleasure of the company of Rosemary White and Katie Jo Davis who joined me on a Podcast about “Fishing the Crystal River area” and swimming with the Manatees. Both are avid angler’s, they fish before the sun comes up, they fish before and after work, they compete in tournaments. Rosemary holds a world record for a rare species she caught in the Miami area. Katie Jo is also a USCG Boat Captain and runs fishing trips for a living.
Crystal River is the home to some of the best Fishing and Outdoor adventuring in the world. And literally, people come from all over. While some tourists come for the “Swimming with the Manatees” in the clear, 72 degree- year around springs, others come for scalloping in Summer. Still more come for the “every day of the year” sport fishing, that comes when you are only 6 miles from the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa Bay.
Our podcast talks about life in such a unique adventure driven area, about the wonder and beauty of Nature, found on the water, in the water and surrounding. This is what I will affectionately call “Old Florida” where Southern hospitality is alive and well, the trees drip with Spanish Moss and everyone knows how to move a little more slowly. The ladies talk about raising their children on paddle boards, in boats fishing for their dinner, and how to “UNPLUG” from the corporate life. Cell service is spotty, especially on the water, so listening to the call of the birds and the lapping of the waves, smelling the fresh air, forgetting where you live and work, is all part of the deal.
I had the wonderful chance to go out on a manatee swim. The earlier you start the better, so after donning a wetsuit, our tour began at 7:45am and the outside temp was only 45 degrees F.
Swimming with the manatees taught me a lot about how well Naturalists have thought out conservation and preservation of a very special species of mammals. Any good tour operator must inform the participants about how to gently observe the manatees so as not to disturb them. We watched a well -produced video showing the proper way to “float above” the passing creatures. They are so docile and gentle in their movements, and Mommies with babies cling tightly together. Although they were only feet away, they passed under us, next to us, while we used a float tube to calmly float above it all. I could hear a melodic tune in my head, like you might hear when watching a Nature special on the Discovery channel, below, the huge mammals danced for us in their special way.
Gage Outdoors and Beatrice Bradley Adventures can put a customized trip together for you and your family (corporate group, ladies retreat, family reunion) with great adventures, accommodations, fishing and manatee swimming or scalloping included! If you would like to see a complete trip brochure, please click HERE.
Check out part 2 of this blog post.