Our cruising guide suggested that we would have a tough time finding a place to anchor as the nearby oxbows would be filled with water hyacinths. We were lucky and found two spots to anchor choosing the one further north. As we were settling in the anchor in 6 feet, a guided kayak tour happened by. Coleen heard the guide telling everyone that the big sailboat was anchored in a 40 ft hole. Guess you shouldn't always believe the guides.
After lunch we launched Coleen's kayak and got the dinghy ready to row. We put Prince in the dinghy on a short leash attached to the dinghy floor and I made him sit down low while I rowed to shore. I didn't want him to be alligator bait. Coleen led the way and soon we were on shore tying up our little boats to a tree on a muddy bank filled with huge turkey vultures eating something dead. I carried the dog so he wouldn't be their next meal. We paid our $5 entrance fee and set out to explore.
Blue Springs State Park is home to the West Indian Manatees during the winter months. They congregate here due to the warm 72 degree spring fed water. Now to me 72 degree water seems cold, but I guess it is warmer than the St. John's River which can get as low as 46 degrees. Two hundred manatees were counted entering the Blue Spring the day before. The spring is huge and delivers 104 million gallons of water daily into the St. John's River. We enjoyed the boardwalk trail, a tour of an old homestead and an interpretative video about the manatees. It is truly a magical place and well worth the visit.
Coleen spent the evening doing school work while I tried to relax. Unfortunately our anchor light was not working properly, showing only very dim light. I took out some Christmas lights and wrapped them around the back stay and wind vane just to make sure we would be visible.
It's been a long time since we spent a night at anchor, and an even longer time since we anchored without DJ nearby. I was admittedly a little nervous. I didn't like the looks of our anchorage after dark as it seemed far too close to the channel. But then things always look closer in the dark and according to my anchor alarm we were still in the same place we'd been all afternoon.
I turned in early after securing the companionway with our new lock. Our friend Eric made a very secure lock for us and I was thankful to have it. Still I barely slept a wink, waking up hourly, each time after horrible dreams. I think it's going to take a little while to get back in the swing of things.