Although we had planned to be up and out early, it never works like that so once we were ready and had packed up the car it was about 10am. It was about a 2 hour drive to Blue Springs, mostly on the interstate which was dull. The drive took us back through the middle of Orlando, and with the radio on we heard that Discovery was just about to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and that we should hear two sonic booms and possibly see it. Unfortunately, the noise of the traffic meant that we didn’t even manage to hear it, ah well. Liz might have seen it, but it could easily have been a plane. We arrived at the park just after noon and ate the remainder of our cold pizza for lunch. A gang of bikers were also in the car park and one approached the window asking for a jump, we said that it was fine, so long as he knew how to do it, since we had no idea. We moved the car over and they jumped the dead bike and after thanking uswent on their way. At least now we know how to open the bonnet. After investigating our options, we rented two giant tubes to drift down the spring in. The water was a little cold at first, but since the spring was so calm we stayed quite dry. It was lovely to lie back in a giant inflatable tube and float down the river in the sunshine. After the first run Liz decided it was dry enough for her camera so we went back to retrieve it for the second run. It was equally lovely, and now we have photos. But since they are on Lizzie’s camera, I can’t post them right now, sorry. Going back to the shop, we swapped our inflatable tubes for masks and snorkels and after a quick drink and a sit down headed back to the top of the spring again. Heading right from the entry point, against the current we swam over the spring and watched the water bubbling up from the endless depths of the spring. After continuing problems with fogging up my mask by breathing through my nose I finally got the hang of it in time to snorkel down the river. About half way down Liz called me over to point out a fish in the distance, and then again a few minutes later. Then we saw another and both noticed that it had lots of teeth. At this point, although I know it is very silly and girly, I completely freaked out and did not want to be in the water anymore. Not realising that I was actually freaking out, Liz then pointed out another one. After inhaling a lot of water, I swam very quickly to the dock and got out. Not such a fan of big fish with teeth. I waited for Liz on the dock and refused to get back in the water, even to look at a teeny tiny fish next to the dock. After returning our masks and snorkels and changing into dry clothes, we took a wander along the boardwalk to see if we could spot some manatees. The water was so clear that we were able to see loads of fish, and then eventually someone next to me pointed out a manatee.

Blue Springs State Park

It was just swimming away and I managed to catch a glimpse of it before it disappeared behind the overhanging trees. Sadly, I did not get a photo. After looking for a little longer we came to terms with the fact that it wasn’t coming back and headed back to the car. After a short drive we arrived at the campsite. To be honest, for $23 I was a little disappointed with the “pitch your tent anywhere in the tent area” which was a field with lots of trees. After pitching our tent, to an audience of bikers, we headed out for dinner. (We found out later that it is “Bike Week” in Daytona, less than 20 miles away, hence the fact that we were pretty much the only on-bikers in the campsite)  Since it was Shrove Tuesday we had to have pancakes, so we decided to combine this with our first trip to IHOP (International House of Pancakes). The pancakes were amazing (although I was brought the wrong thing for the second day running) and Liz was able to get her tea fix. After a short drive back to the campsite, we headed for the rec room, where Liz managed to find a film on the TV and I blogged the last few days on the laptop. Although 8pm was the advertised closing time, no one, other than a chatty biker, had turned up to kick us out by the time Lizzie’s film finished. Even so, we were exhausted and were tucked up in our sleeping bags by half past 9, which is a bit pathetic, but we had a busy day!