Friday, October 6, 2017 : From Crystal River to Naples


Wake-up is unusually early today. We have an appointment at 7 am for an excursion with manatees.

 

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Somewhere under water, there is a manatee

 

The manatee is a relatively large, about 10 ft, sea mammal, that shares its time between freshwater in Crystal River and other places, and saltwater further North along the coast of Florida. It has no natural predator, and is absolutely devoid of any agressivity. It is able to pass pretty close to us without seeming concerned by our presence in any way. When man trespasses into the manatee's natural habitat, the least he can do is show the utmost respect for the one who invites us in its home.

 

Our guide takes us on a boat trip in the lagunas in Crystal River. We can see two  manatees. We stay a relatively short time with the first one. The second one, however, without being overtly friendly, accepts without any difficulty our presence around him during his meal. Good thing that he is 100 % vegetarian ! This quite large animal passes just inches away from us. This vision is both frightening (the animal must be 10 times our weight) and exhilarating.

 

All good things coming to an end, our snorkel swimming session with manatees finally ends. We take the road to Fort Myers.

 

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Egret at Sanibel Island

 

As we make it to Fort Myers, a quick check shows us that the hotel where we had a reservation is closed for repairs, in the aftermath of hurricane Irma a few weeks ago. It shows no sign of reopening soon.

 

We go to Sanibel Island, a more or less preserved little paradise, where birds, turtles and fish are protected, and where parking is charged about everywhere. We take a stroll on the beach, looking for all the wildlife. We find a few birds, egrets and pelicans, and Marie takes pictures of some flowers.

 

Upon arrival at our hotel, we have a nasty surprise. The reservation I had made, and which was confirmed, never made it to the innkeeper. We have no other choice than hastily book a room at another hotel and drive back to Naples (Florida, not Italy). We will need to clarify the situation.