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LMPS Kicks-Off 2015 Cruise Season at Crystal River

by Lt Chuck Clark, S

The first Lake Murray Power Squadron cruise began Friday 16 January 2015 as member headed to Crystal River, Florida, to swim with the manatees. The group arrived throughout the day at the Port Hotel and Marina, and that evening we all gathered for drinks and dinner at the Ale House and discussed the details for Saturdayís events. Read our story and check out the photos below!

Everyone arrived at the dive shop Saturday morning and watched a mandatory movie, then donned wet suits and snorkel gear. The temperature was 40 degrees at 0800 as we boarded pontoon boats to set out on our manatee adventure. The mist was hanging on top of the warm water as we left the marina headed to Three Sisters Springs. Along the way we encountered dolphins feeding on fish, and abundant birds and wild life that made for a very pleasant cruise. We arrived at the springs and found a place to anchor. I believe everyone was in the water within 10 minutes, some before the anchor was set.

As LMPS members got into the water, they immediately encountered manatees. I myself stepped on one and was turned over in the water as it swam away. A couple in the group was knocked down by manatees as they swam past, but they got up smiling from the experience. The manatee experience was one that will not be forgotten as some of the younger members went nose to nose with the gentle giants, and even petted them. That afternoon the majority of the group attended the Manatee Festival to view local arts and crafts, before we all came back together for a delicious dinner and a discussion about our experiences of the morning.

On Sunday a large portion of the group rented kayaks and set out for more adventures with the gentle giants. The group paddled around the entire Kings Bay area to visit the many springs and encountered manatees and other wildlife along the maybe five-mile paddle. I didnít hear anyone complain about sore muscles, maybe because of the good time they were having. Four of us in the group enjoyed a round of golf on Plantation Golf Course, which was very relaxing, and a great course.

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Updated 22 March 2017
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