Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monkey see; monkey do!

Silver River was one of the Florida state parks that I had on my "wish list".  Since I'm the one in charge of picking campgrounds, I made sure that we got the chance to visit this one!!

We were in site 25; nice large site; no trees hanging in our way and level!  What more could you ask for?  And, it looked like we had some really cool neighbors.

Scooby mobile
This reminded me of the van that was in all of the Scooby Doo cartoons!  We ended up chatting with the couple and they are from Canada.  They spend a few months every winter in Florida to escape the cold.  It may be small but it's home to them!!

We knew that the walk to the boat landing was a bit far to carry the kayak so Dan went to work building a set of wheels....
How does he come up with all these ideas?!!

A slight modification to the trolling motor was also in order....

Ta-dah!  The finished products.
After using the wheels twice, McGyver decided that he is going to be making another set of wheels that will be multi-functional!  Our "basement" is getting a bit crowded as we currently have three wheel carts!!  (This one, a cart to haul wood and a cart to haul my laundry basket.)  Lowe's is really liking us lately!

Time to launch the boat....I admit that I was more than just a itsy bit nervous about paddling with the gators.  Our friend Nancy calmed my nerves via email but I was still a scaredy cat!!
Boat launch at Silver River State Park
We decided to head downstream as word was that the monkeys were not too far away.

Our view as we head downstream... 

Beautiful scenery!

Mother Nature at her finest

Crystal clear water
This was our first time paddling in a spring and were in awe of the clarity of the water.  You could see fish and turtles swimming right beside the kayak.  We meandered down the river taking in all of the scenery.  Birds were everywhere!  I'm still learning the names of many of them and am sure it will take some tine to master this! 

Paddle....paddle....paddle....my eyes were scanning left to right in search of alligators and monkeys.  Finally.....they were heard before they were seen...
From what I understand, the monkeys were brought to the area by an individual (Colonel Tooey) who was offering "jungle cruises".  Apparently he thought it would be more jungle-y if there were monkeys along the river.    So....bring in a few rhesus monkeys and 70-80 years later, you can see their descendents along the Silver River.  There have actually been attempts to remove the monkeys from the area but they keep on returning.  Their average life span is only four years.

We were fascinated with the monkeys but also did not want to get too close.  There was another boat near us that had people on it that were tossing cut-up oranges to the monkeys. 
I'm so cute but where are the oranges?
Any oranges in here?

Ah-ha!   Here are the oranges!
Yeah - I know I'm cute!!
Why does everyone keep taking my picture??

These next few pictures seem to tell a story....the Dad is on the left; the Mom in the middle and the baby on the right....

The Dad wants to take a nap.....
The Dad is down for the count!  Mom seems to be consoling the baby! 


Nope- he was just playing 'possum!!

Nice silhouette of a monkey

We had a good time watching the monkeys and right before we left Dan said "Looks - there's a gator".....I quickly did my back paddling....

He was an itty bitty thing but that did not matter to me!  Further down the river, we saw two more....

That was enough paddling for me for the day!  The next day it rained most of the day so we didn't venture outside too much.  Thursday we paddled the river again but went up to the headsprings.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share as, although I charged my battery, I forgot to put it back in my camera.  Duh! 

We thoroughly enjoyed Silver River State Park and would like to come back as we just didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted to! 



Anonymous said...

This place is definitely going on our bucket list. Love the wheels Dan built for the boat, although wouldn't expect anything less! Glad you guys are having so much fun!

Bruce and Laura

Gin and Syl said...

Nice set of wheels. I sure can picture you back paddling! We need to paddle there so that we can scare...I mean see the monkeys.

Barbara said...

Pretty cool seeing monkeys outside of a zoo! Your MacGyver sure is amazing!

Nancy and Bill said...

Great Post, Great Pictures!!!

It has to be my very favorite paddle and one I would never get tired of.

You will get use to the gators...really.

But it is OK to be respectful of them!! Just would hate to see you miss some wonderful nature opportunities.

Gail and Rick (Gypsy Turtles) said...

Well, that does it. That paddle is definitely on our 'must do' list!

I'm with you though...a bit apprehensive when it comes to paddling among the gators :) I'm even a bit reluctant to get too close to the monkeys!

Michael and Dee said...

Monkeys?? We used to have them come into our garden in Durban, South Africa and eat our bananas and pineapples. Cute but a huge problem when they become too tame. Some came into our kitchen and actually stole food right out of the pantry.

Ceal said...

How inventive Dan is!
The monkeys are so ugly they are cute but they can be mean from what I hear---don't get too close.
I don't blame you for being wary of alligators, I don't care how small.
Tricia, you have become quite the nature photographer.
Love you guys,

Elaine said...

Wow Tricia, I think these are your best pics so far - and Dan never ceases to amaze me with his creative talents. Maybe he can rig something up on the back of an alligator that allows y'all to ride your kayaks from up above and be at eye-level with the monkeys! (Just kidding of course). Enjoy your time in warm & sunny Florida - it's just starting to warm up around here but no where near the 80s like y'all have down there:-)

Catherine, Jo Beth and Grace said...

Silver River is just the best.