As scheduled, we started off the Florida part of our honeymoon with set reservations at Longboat Key but then thought we would "wing it" on the second half and I think it turned out pretty well. I took the photo above our last day at the Hilton on Longboat. I had gotten up kinda early to enjoy a hot cuppa on the beach and discovered that the birds and dolphins were also enjoying an early breakfast. The little fishies were schooling in large numbers right at the waters edge and it was a smorgasbord for everybody. The dolphins even came in rather close but I didn't get any pictures of them. My camera is just not that good for action and I was mostly just enjoying the moment. I think sometimes trying to get "that great shot" sometimes actually spoils the experience.
Later that day we moved into the Sarasota area and went to Lido Key and then Turtle Beach on Siesta Key the next day. Turtle Beach (in the photo) was my favorite, although we didn't see any turtles!. Not many people were there and the place was very lovely. I actually like these gray sands better than the white beaches in Alabama. It's easier on my eyes than that glaring white. I know some of you native Floridians will be appalled by this confession but...I actually can't take too much sun and surf. I have been known to get very sick from the blazing sunlight and salt water and our last day here I wasn't feeling very well. I mean, I felt kinda crappy through most of the trip, due to the tooth and pain issue, but the sea effect added to it. I really enjoy the beach because it is so exotic to me but I'm not the type that can just lay there like a slug. I have to be swimming or walking or playing in the water and it gets to me. I am, at heart, a creature of the forests and cool mountain streams. So, we left Sarasota a couple of days early to begin our meanderings home. On our last night there however, we did get to meet Island Rider and her hubby for dinner which is always nice!
And on Island Rider's suggestion we made our way to Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon.! This was a wonderful experience. The people that run the Rainbow River Canoe and Kayak were great. Very friendly and helpful. I would fully recommend employing their services if you want to canoe or kayak any of the area rivers. We decided to rent a canoe and go on the 4.5 mile Rainbow River cruise. It was absolutely beautiful!
They don't take you all the way to the headsprings but you are close and you can paddle upstream to see it is you want. We went upstream for about half a mile or so and then turned around to float downstream, so it was probably about a 5 mile or so trek. I really can't describe how beautiful it was. Many parts of the river are shallow but there are very deep spots also and even at 20 feet or so you can still see the bottom because the water is SO clear. It wasn't too populated but we did pass a number of other kayakers, tubers and swimmers. Not so much that is was annoying though. I would LOVE to go snorkeling here one day.
Over the whole trip we saw so many water birds of various types. There were lots of cormorants on the river that day. Maybe one was the one I rescued that day several years ago! Probably not but I can pretend. lol! We also so tons of turtles, one alligator, otters and bunches of fishes of all types because you can just look down in the water and see whole schools swim by!
The trip took around 4 hours and by the end our butts were a little numb but it was still great. You really didn't even have to paddle but Jack kinda guided us along, especially when passing other groups. Jack used to be a big, white-water kayaker so he's a master with anything like this. I just took pictures!
I did, however, miss getting the picture of the one alligator we saw and will never, ever live that down. There were tons of these turtles! and they were pretty good size. The only thing we have this big are our snapping turtles.
Lots of cypress trees. These pictures really don't do it justice. Maybe if I had a better camera.
If you look close you can see some little fishies! We saw some really big ones too. I have no idea what they were. This is, of course, a freshwater spring (the 8th largest in the world) so these looked to me like little crappy or bream but the larger fish sure didn't look like anything I knew. Some of them were big, flat, round looking fish.
And just tons of birds. I could pick out the egrets and herons but wasn't sure what the others were. So, we had a wonderful time on this and more great seafood that night. The next day we continued our trek down the backroads to......Cedar Key! and a seafood festival! more food!!
And that will be continued!......................