Fantastic February Frolic!

Camping in Florida to celebrate Christopher’s big birthday. We’re seeing the gulf coast for the first time as well! Amazing to see the difference between east and west coast Florida! West is full of live oak dripping with spanish moss, palms few and far between. It feels like “old Florida”, far less commercialized.

We started by scoring a new National Wildlife Refuge – number 25! The Lower Suwwanee National Wildlife refuge! It was created to protect the Suwwanee river water by keeping its marsh verges wild and free.

Then it was driveway surfing at Debbie & Pauls Crystal River winter rental! Paul Matthew & his bride Becky were also visiting, as well as Pauls mother Mary! The next day (after ping pong!) we all went to Crystal Springs National Wildlife Refuge. A thoroughly delightful place and manatee haven!

The following morning Debbie & we went to Homasassa Wildlife State Park! Another simply wonderful experience!

Our last day in Crystal Springs started with little T Rex & I going for a walk down near the archeological site. We had little blue heron and anhinga visitors, plus a bevy of turkey vultures!

Afterwards Debbie, Paul, Mary & we wandered over to Fort Island, where we saw dolphins frolicking in the distance! There was a glorious snake enjoying his perch on the branches of an obliging tree in the hammock next to the boardwalk.

Fishermen had crab pots tossed off the pier as well as some casting lines. The sea creatures were completely ignoring these trojan horse offerings! It was a sunny breezy day, practically perfect in every way. There were anhinga, brown pelicans, and boat tailed grackles. Flocks of exquisitely beautiful black skippers soared past us! Inky black wingtops with brilliant white bodies, fat orange beaks with black tips.

We wandered on the boardwalk through the hammock from the pier, where air perfumed with suntan lotion welcomed us to the beach!

The sand had masses of black skippers, laughing gulls, and grackles darting to and fro!

At our final stop of the afternoon we had a pod of seven manatees drift right under us as we stood on the pier! Truly lovely seeing these wonderful lumps floating by! Tomorrow we’re going to Charlies, the difference between east coast Florida and west coast Florida is stunning!

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