Fall always gives way to pleasant days on the Rivers. With the temperatures cooling down, the wildlife can be seen all day foraging for food. Early morning fog will give way to brilliant clear skies, the better to see the brilliant clear waters of the Silver River. A guest recently told us that he had traveled the world and had never seen water more clear than on the Silver River. Just one of the many reasons that this River has had uncountable visitors from the time of early Indian settlement.
Manatees have been sighted on the Rivers for the last few years, and while out on the Silver River this weekend, Capt. Nick made the first sighting of the year. This is the earliest we have seen them on the River since their return. Unlike other places, these sightings are rather rare, and your best chance for spotting one is to try to get out on the River when you know they have been spotted. Again, no guarantee, but this may very well be a good year for seeing the manatees on the Rivers. We usually do not see them return until February so perhaps their early appearance bodes well for those of us anxious to see them maintain their winter migration to the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers.
The birds, alligators, monkeys and more can be seen year around, so load up on one of these pleasant fall days, and waste a few hours letting Mother Nature entertain you. Bring along a lunch, something to drink, and make some memories.
The Silver River offers such a diverse amount of wildlife that it is hard to imagine seeing so many different specimens without being at a zoo. That is the wonder of the Springs. For ages they have been a gathering spot for life looking for food and water. As you travel along the River you will see many different birds, turtles, fishes, monkeys, and alligators. The occasional bear or deer can be seen along the banks.
Most come to see the Rhesus Monkeys. Others just want to see the gators. The beauty of the many birds will draw folks from around the world. Regardless of what your special reason for coming is, the main appeal is that these critters are all wild. No cages and no caretakers, you will see just the bounty of nature.
Early morning is the best time to see the River right now. Try to get off by 8 a.m. in order to beat the heat. Remember that it is a three hour trip to the basin of the Springs and back so bring along plenty of beverages or water.
The Silver River never ceases to amaze me. After many years of touring this natural wonder, I’ve witnessed everything from mullet jumping into the boat, to a Blue Heron using a piece of bread as bait to catch minnows. It is a very diverse and unique eco-system and you just never know what you will see.
Today was no exception. We spotted a troupe of about 30 Rhesus Monkeys not far from the dock. As we pulled over to get a few photo’s and watch the “show”, a funny thing happened. About half the troupe decided to go swimming. These acrobats were intentionally jumping our of trees 20 feet above the River, and everyone of them did a belly flop. They would then climb back up the tree and do it again. What a show! In over 30 years of boating on the Silver River that was a first for me. Like I have said before, you just never know what you are going to see.
A recent trip down the Silver River reminds me of how fortunate we are to have this beautiful waterway preserved for all of us. It is no wonder that so many of our guests come back year after year, and bring along their visitors or family members. It is simply a special place. You might come to see the wildlife, or it could be to just get away from it all, whatever the reason, the River remains the same…unchanged.
Hardly a minute goes by that you are not siting a new animal or bird. From the fish, turtles, alligators and more that are in the River, to the eagles, hawks, herons and more that are in the air and trees, the Silver River is home to a countless number of year around residential and migratory wildlife. Capt. Tom spotted yet another group of manatees recently, and as always we get excited about their return to the River. Of course, everyone wants to see the Rhesus Monkeys. They will be spotted on about 99% of our trips, and as with all the wildlife, they are wild along the waterway.
When planning your trip this time of year, try to go on the weekdays, or early on a weekend mornings. This is best to be sure that you can see the wildlife before they are disturbed by other boaters. Remember that it is a three hour boat ride from the departure location at Ray Wayside Park to the basin of Silver Springs, so be sure to bring along plenty of beverage as the temperatures climb as we approach summer.