Mermaids! What I love about Florida's winter are the mild sunny temperate days like yesterday when the air's temperature is slightly lower than the temperature of the spring water. Weeki Wachee's spring water is always 74.5 degrees and we spent the day soaking like mermaids, watching mermaids, and a mermaid aka manatee swam close enough to touch. We capped it off with an amazing dinner at Becky-Jacks surrounded by family. My friend and fellow slicer Lee-Ann calls these pink-stone days and I add them as another chapter to my blue-spring memories.
When people think of Florida, they are draw images of the beach in their head. As a Florida native, I grew up close to the beach. It wasn't until I moved to central Florida during college that I discovered the real beauty of Florida that is often encapsulated by the shade of live oaks, fresh water springs. I have often written about the springs and my spring-hopping adventures here and yesterday was another day of spring adventure. This time, my nephews discovered the joy that swimming in the fresh water springs bring as my daughter celebrated her tenth birthday.
My daughter wanted to spend her birthday at Weeki Wachee State Park. It is one of Florida's oldest theme parks which was purchased by the state. During the summer kids delight in sliding into the water, but in the spring, the pool is often empty since the slides are closed. This spring is wonderful for parents of smaller children as there is a gradual incline into the spring. Older kids enjoy swimming out to the floating dock and jumping, diving, and flipping into the 16 feet of cold blue.
This afternoon we were not only joined by our family, but a manatee as well. People often mistake manatees for mermaids. We enjoy watched her fill up and then were full of wonder as she meandered through the swimming area close enough to touch. We didn't though. Human interaction with manatees is strictly forbidden. We backed away slowly and watched discretely from a distance. She moved in the same easy manner that we were spending out day. No hurry! It was magical.
Once my nephews braved the cold, they too fell in love with the springs. They want to go back. We will. Although our pictures of the manatee didn't come out, that memory, the blue-spring, the sunlight, the splashes are always close in our hearts and heads.