One of the advantages of running an ecotourism business, is that you get to take a bunch of "exploratory" trips. (We always like to check out an area several times before taking a group out.) This makes for some very fun adventures. One such trip was a camping expedition along the Santa Fe River in Central Florida. The Santa Fe is one of my favorite paddles. The water is clear and cool. The best thing about clear and cool water in Florida is that you can swim without having to be concerned about who might be sharing the water with you.
We camped overnight just feet from the river. The night insect sounds were amazing. I never fully appreciated the sound of cicadas until I moved to Florida. The night is alive with a pulse of sound. It is invigorating. I wanted to stay up all night just to listen to their chorus.
We had our morning coffee down by the river. (Chris looks cute before he's had his coffee.) This proved to be a wonderful idea as their was an otter having its breakfast at the same time. Usually shy, this otter stayed and fished just yards from us for over an hour. Every so often, he would peak his head up very near to where we were sitting, just to make sure we hadn't moved. Spartacus didn't know what to think about the otter.
We have one of the only cats I know of that loves to go camping. He started coming with us when he was a kitten and I must say, he is better at it than most people I know. We all went for a nice hike in a cypress swamp later in the day. Cypress are some of the most amazingly beautiful trees.
After the warmth of the day, we cooled off with a dip in the river as the sun was going down.