Afternoon on the Silver River

Although the sun rarely peeked from behind the gray clouds, the weather was otherwise pleasant and Hannah and I enjoyed exploring the Silver River on Tuesday with four of John Hare’s advanced placement science students from Vanguard High School in Ocala. Lest you think we were just lazing away the day, Hannah will be uploading some clips or stills soon to show how the four students were working diligently to take measurements of water quality at 16 of the 120 springs in the Silver River. We meandered down the river at no-wake speed noting limpkins, cormorants, and anhingas, and many other birds. We saw alligators and plenty of turtles trying to get warm in the afternoon haze. We steered around a research team of divers investigating the world below the surface. And what a surprise to happen on a troop of monkeys peering at us from high in the trees along the river bank. Seems as if an entrepreneur in 1929 wanted to enhance his “jungle river cruise” with some non-native wild animals, but, as Captain Connie Neumann told us, “he didn’t know monkeys could swim.” And now there are hundreds of them all over the Florida, some as far away as Jacksonville and Tampa. The river bottom was mostly covered by eel grass with only tiny patches of the beautiful blue-silver sand for which the river was named. We also had an informative tour of the Silver River Museum, a great storehouse of Florida history complete with mastodon skeleton and other prehistoric wonders, pictorial history of native people, historical items from early European settlers, and lots of information about the river over the centuries. Stay tuned for visuals!