While we were in Ocala, Florida on a work trip, the local colleagues recommended that we visit Silver Springs, Florida and try out the glass bottom boats. So that is what we did! It was not far from our hotel (one town over) and quite convenient, and as it turned out, it was really really amazing! We all loved it! So here are some pictures.
[[image:2015_silversprings_36.jpg:Silver Springs State Park:center:0]]
OK, here are a lot of pictures! We weren’t there more than a few hours but it really was very cool. We would definitely go again if we had the chance, to experience the glass bottom boat again.
* Mouse over the pictures for captions
We start with some photos that we took while waiting for the next glass bottom boat tour to begin.
[[image:2015_silversprings_01.jpg:Hanging out on a bench:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_02.jpg:Bit bundled up as although it was sunny it was in the 60s F (about 15 C):center:0]]
Some of the gorgeous swampy flora:
[[image:2015_silversprings_33.jpg:Sadly no mangroves or mudskippers visible:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_34.jpg:Bridge was build around the tree instead of cutting the tree down:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_35.jpg:Makes me homesick for my old mangrove swampy hometown:center:0]]
And then it was time to get on the boat!
[[image:2015_silversprings_03.jpg:Waiting to get started:center:0]]
Here is a section of the underwater photos. The water of Silver Springs is amazingly clear and these photos do not do it justice. It is by far the clearest water I’ve ever seen. These waters are potable (drinkable) and are even pumped out to make bottled water. The springs are fed by the underground aquifer and stay at a constant 72 F (about 21 C) all year round. Just one of these underground springs (I believe it was Mammoth Spring) puts out so much water every day that it is enough for half the population of the world to drink in one day. Plus did I mention how ridiculously clear these waters are? If it had been a warmer day, we would have braved kayaking these waters so I hope we get to go back here at some point so we can do just that. Anyway, here are the photos taken through the glass bottom of the boat:
[[image:2015_silversprings_04.jpg:Bubbly as the boat goes fast from one underwater spring to another:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_09.jpg:Hundred year old downed cypress tree underwater:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_10.jpg:Spot the 500-year old boat hull under the tree:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_17.jpg:More fishy fishes! (The tour guide told us the names of the fish but that information has completely fallen out of my head):center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_18.jpg:The sandy bottom and other artifacts are clearly visible:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_19.jpg:Another clear water fishy shot:center:0]]
Next, some of the above-water scenery while on the boat tour:
[[image:2015_silversprings_05.jpg:Lovely serene scenery:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_06.jpg:Birds in the trees:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_07.jpg:Birds and turtles (yes, the tour guide mentioned the bird and turtle species but I did not retain that information, sorry):center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_12.jpg:Patch of red in the trees caught my eye:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_13.jpg:Spanish moss in the trees (neither Spanish nor moss, but there you go):center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_14.jpg:Bunch of turtles on a log!:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_15.jpg:Kiambang-like (water lily?) plants in the water:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_20.jpg:Plantation house peeping through the trees:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_21.jpg:Lovely Florida cypress covered in Spanish moss:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_23.jpg:And a palm tree next to this lovely Cypress:center:0]]
And then the tour was over. Sadness for everyone. Both children (even Adik!) were completely absorbed by what lay beneath the glass bottom boat.
[[image:2015_silversprings_16.jpg:Waiting to get off the boat:center:0]]
This is what the boats looked like from afar:
[[image:2015_silversprings_30.jpg:Glass bottom boats:center:0]]
We then walked around the main part of the park for a little while:
[[image:2015_silversprings_24.jpg:Yaya looks at the kayakers with great envy:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_25.jpg:OK I may have a thing for these gorgeous trees:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_26.jpg:Yaya and Adik play under the trees:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_28.jpg:I think Adik found Spanish moss on the grass:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_27.jpg:Vin relaxing on a picnic table:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_29.jpg:Adik has recovered from skinning his knee not two minutes before this photo was taken:center:0]]
[[image:2015_silversprings_31.jpg:You can see the underwater grass clearly from the walkway:center:0]]
We really did enjoy this park and highly recommend the glass bottom boat tours. At bedtime that night, Adik said that his favorite part of the day was the glass bottom boat ride! Perhaps one day we will return for the tour and a day of kayaking on these lovely clear waters.
[[image:2015_silversprings_32.jpg:Adik endorses the green message!:center:0]]