Visit to the manatees

We’re on our way to Florida to kayak with manatees. I tried to plan a trip that would be very easy for me to handle as a solo parent, but that would be something Moomin wants to do, like his dream vacation. We’ll see. I’m a bit sick and exhausted and unsure I can do this.

We are getting the hell out of Orlando as fast as possible in a rental car, and staying in a funky little motel in a small town by a lake for one night. The Lake Minneola Inn and Tiki Bar looked fairly accessible, and has a restaurant in it, and grounds next to a lake so Moomin can wander around with out me & explore.

On the way out of that town the next morning I plan on getting donuts and going to the comic book store and a drugstore. We’ll get a bunch of comics, sunscreen, snacks, juice, bug spray, and so on. Then drive out an hour or two to another smallish town called Inverness. I planned this all out by examining the route on Google Maps, zooming in on the towns to see if there were interesting places to go… like bookstores! Then, also checking towns on Yelp. In Inverness there is a secondhand bookstore and an Italian deli within a block of each other. I plan on filling our rental car with cheap books and groceries!

In Homosassa we have a tiny rental cottage, on a canal, that comes with its own kayaks. It’s on a river that flows from warm springs. In winter, the manatees come up the river to hang out in warm water. 10 minutes by kayak (or car) from our rental cottage, there’s a wildlife park and manatee refuge, where Moomin’s adopted manatee (named Ariel) lives.

The things I am worried about are basically: not having enough energy to do things with Moomin, being too sick or exhausted to do the necessary errands to feed us or get supplies, and last but not least, Moomin’s likely reaction to the existence of mosquitoes.

For backup, I have taken down some numbers of people who do errands and housecleaning from Craigslist who are local to Citrus County.

And I figured this will be as much like our regular life as possible – a small place right on the water with kayaks and a lot of books – That I will be able to manage it and Moomin will be amused.

But, with manatees!

My first thought for this dream vacation was Isla Mujeres and having a little electric cart to go all over the island and going on charter cruises to see ocean life. Plus in theory I would get to practice my Spanish. Then I realized Moomin still gets maybe a bit too motion sick to enjoy charter cruises around the actual ocean, and that he doesn’t eat anything that doesn’t come in nugget form so maybe sticking to the US and England or any other place they eat a lot of bland fried things is a good idea for a couple of years.

Really hoping I have the energy to make it into and through the awesome looking Homosassa manatee park and that I can get around it in a wheelchair (I think so!) and that I can hobble about well enough to obtain and make us things like hot dogs, and get into a kayak, and that it doesn’t rain the whole time, and the Internet works in our cottage, and that it is not a place full of scary hicks who will beat me up for being weird looking city slickers, and that we are not eaten by alligators.

Most of the time we will just lie around in bed reading, as usual. BUT WITH MANATEES NEARBY.

You should expect very excited reports and a lot of photos soon!

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42 Responses to Visit to the manatees

  1. Grace says:

    I think that sounds like a wonderful vacation! Have a great time!

  2. lizhenry says:

    I took my kids to Homasassa State Park a few years ago and they enjoyed it. The
    manatees were very interesting, and it was easy to walk around with walkways
    everywhere. There was a visitor's center, and a short boat ride to the park area.

    Silver Springs is also a nice place to visit. They have glass-bottom boat rides
    in their park, and a lot of animal exhibits. My kids enjoy it when we visit the

    — Colleen

    (Colleeen I just accidentally deleted your comment instead of replying! Argh!

    • lizhenry says:

      But here is my reply anyway. The thing I'm worried about is, I have to take a boat ride to get there, but I don't think I can walk through a parking lot, through whatever nature center stuff is there, to a boat, and then through the park on crutches. I will need the wheelchair but will they let me take the wheelchair on the boat? I am sure I can perfectly well get the chair on there but they will just as surely fuss and freak out.

      But I'm going there tomorrow and can't wait!

  3. I love your line: like regular life…but with manatees!

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