Well, at least one is back….Manatee, that is! We have all been anxious to see if the Manatees will return to the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers this year. Yesterday, April 27, I spotted this Manatee while on a fishing trip on the Ocklawaha River. It was approximately the middle of March when we first sighted them on these Rivers last year, so we had thought the window for their return this year was past. This gentle giant swam by us while we were anchored up fishing. The picture I got was not the best, but a white stripe down his back was very distinctive.
When we spotted the Manatees last year we only saw one, and several days later spotted nine at one time. We are hoping his buddies are bringing up the rear.
Should anyone have other sightings or photos of the Manatees, drop us a note and we will get your information up to share with others.
Want to see some Gators? Well, Ocala/Marion County is Gator Country. To the north we have the University of Florida Gators, and in our lakes and rivers you will find the Florida Alligator. Orange and Blue or reptilian green, you are in Gator Country.
Boating or kayaking the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers you will find these big boys (and girls), and we are heading towards their favorite time of year. As our temperatures start reaching the 90’s they spend a lot of time basking in the Florida sunshine. They also enjoy this time of year as they spend a bit of their day hanging out under the birds nests along the river, hoping perhaps that a fledgling Cormorant may take a tumble.
The Alligators along our Rivers are used to their many visitors. As they find their spots in the sun, you can boat or kayak within good camera range. It is never a good idea to get too close, and it is always against the law to feed them. Gators will defend their eggs or hatchlings, and care should be taken when kayaking along the banks of the Rivers where they will nest in spots of overgrowth for protection.
With the warmer temperatures you can best enjoy the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers with early morning or late afternoon departures. From spring to fall the Rivers busy up on the weekends with boat traffic. You will want to keep that in mind when planning your trip on these Rivers.
The draw down at the Rodman Reservoir is finally over. The water level on the Ocklawaha River from the Moss Bluff Lock and Dam to Rodman Dam has been coming up over the past few weeks. Although the higher water levels are a welcome sight on the Rivers, it comes at a price. There are several new snags from fallen trees in several locations. Use extreme caution when boating on the Ocklawaha.