My preoccupation with cooking, a new hobby, has kept me away from blogging and photography. I knew I needed a break yesterday, so after taking the dog out, I decided to drive to the nearest beach in New Smyrna. While on I-4, a small sign which says “Lake Helen, Historic District” caught my attention and without a second thought, exited the highway. This small town of a little over 2000 people did not interest me so much, so I went back to I-4 only to be tantalized by another sign: “Orange City, Historic District.” As I drove through it, I noticed the lines of car becoming longer and slower. I likewise noticed the plate numbers of these cars – many of them are from out of state. “There must be something special somewhere here,” I thought to myself. The I was following turned left and a big street sign says, “Blue Spring State Park.”
I always love nature, so I stayed in the long procession of crawling cars. On many occasions, I noticed the ramblings of my car engine due to long idling. Some cars behind me took a turn and left. I persisted. That persistence paid off because for the first time, I saw the endangered manatees, over 350 of them in their natural habitat. The Blue Spring State Park is the winter home to them. They love the park’s crystal clear and shallow river which reflect whatever color is around it. It looks green when surrounded by trees and blue when the sky is sunny and clear.
When I arrived in the park, there were already a lot of people around, some even brought their dogs. Had I known, I would have brought Jack with me. A lot of them were with their families, including little children.
Manatees belong to an endangered species. I’ve read there are only 2500 left in Florida. They are also known as sea cows and are said to be related to the elephants with whom they share their kind of skin. They live up to 50 – 60 years old and they’re mammals like us. I only brought my 50mm lens, so I wasn’t able to get close up photos of them. I have however, taken some photos, a lot of photos actually. Please check my gallery on this amazing place. The best thing to do of course is for you to visit the place yourself if you haven’t done yet. It’s only about an hour by car from Orlando. I only paid $4 for the entrance fee to the park.