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The two RV Gypsies went boating at
Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida
and witnessed an act of nature that was quite a surprise .
July 2, 2014

Florida map showing location of Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka Florida

history bookWekiwa Springs State Park is located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River. The beautiful vistas within this park offer a glimpse of what Central Florida looked like when Timucuan Indians fished and hunted these lands. Wekiwa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or take a swim in the cool spring. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. Thirteen miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. Arrive early on weekends because the parking lot fill up quickly.   The Wekiva River (sometimes spelled Wekiwa, a Creek word meaning spring of water) is a 16.0-mile-long river. It originates in Apopka, Florida and joins the St. Johns River, the longest river in the state, in DeBary, Florida. The Wekiva River system includes the main stem of the Wekiva River joined by three main tributaries - Rock Springs Run, Blackwater Creek and Little Wekiva River - and about 30 contributing groundwater springs. It is designated as a Florida State Canoe Trail by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The Wekiva River system is also one of the two rivers in Florida federally designated as a National Wild and Scenic River for its scenery, recreation, geology and diverse habitats.

history bookIn the 1800s, central Florida was primarily agricultural; however, with the end of the Civil War, a stout tourist trade started to take advantage of Florida’s temperate winters, long summers and abundant natural beauty, and out of that growth came Wekiwa Springs. In 1941, the Apopka Sportsmen’s Club purchased the property from the Wilson Cypress Company, which had maintained a small turpentine camp in what is now the park, maintaining the area for recreational use. By 1979 the state of Florida expressed interest in the property for use as a state park, and, starting in 1970, visitors from all over the country and all over the world have been enjoying the natural spring, crystal clear water, and the area's abundant wildlife. A major point for the spring's popularity is the year-round 72 °F temperature of the water.

hiking trail at Wekiwa Springs State Park

The main attraction at Wekiwa Springs Park is the spring, providing approximately 42 million gallons of water to the Wekiva River each day The swimming area varies in depth from under a foot to five feet, and a small 15–20-foot-deep cavern at the source of the spring. The cavern extends deeper into a cave, which has been explored in great detail. SCUBA and cave diving is strictly prohibited. The park has a nature center, and access to Wekiwa Springs, Wekiwa Springs Run, Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River. Picnic pavilions equipped with charcoal grills exist in the picnic area. Canoes and Kayaks can be rented at the nature center. There are four campsites in Wekiwa Springs State Park that can only be accessed by canoe or kayak.

natural spring at Wekiwa Springs State Park
natural spring at Wekiwa Springs State Park

The two RV Gypsies rented the paddle boat so that Lee could exercise his knees. Unlike the canoes and kayaks, paddle boats must stay in the small lagoon area, but that was OK for the two RV Gypsies because they had fun watching the alligators and turtles.

Lee Duquette at Wekiwa Springs state Park
alligator and 2 turtles at Wekiwa Springs State Park
two turtles at Wekiwa Springs state Park
turtle swimming at Wekiwa Springs State Park
two turtles and one alligator at Wekiwa Springs State Park
two turtles at Wekiwa Springs State Park

sad faceBut then came the surprise! Karen was photographing a baby alligator swimming beside the paddle boat and then the baby alligator swam to the other side of the paddle boat. Then Lee said there was a bigger alligator on the other side of the boat. But before Karen could photograph it, they heard a big splash and then they saw the big alligator but the baby alligator was gone. The big alligator ATE the poor baby. Bummer! Especially since it would have been a prize-winning photo or video if Karen had been able to capture the actual second the big one grabbed the baby. It was sad in lots of ways, but that's nature.

Below are three photos of the baby alligator in the last few moments of its short life.

baby alligator at Wekiwa Springs State Park
baby alligator at Wekiwa Springs State Park
baby alligator at Wekiwa Springs state Park

And here is the bigger alligator which was probably thinking- 'yummy yummy yummy in my tummy.' Then it went to rest and hide in a corner as if it had done something wrong.

alligator that ate the baby alligator

alligator hiding at Wekiwa Springs State Park

Below are photos of different alligators in the lagoon. All of these were smaller alligators that the two RV Gypsies have come across in the past, but it was still exciting to be so close to them. They were not always easy to spot, but Lee had eagle eyes.

alligtor at Wekiwa Springs state Park
alligator at Wekiwa Springs State Park

And Karen got bit too - NO, not by an alligator, but while still on the paddle boat, Karen started itching because something got her leg good and this red spot grew bigger and itched for days. It was also very hot to the touch. Not sure what caused it.

Karen Duquette's rash or bite on her leg
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Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Florida - 2014
You may visit these ten (10) FL sites in any order you choose.
There is also a link to Alabama below.

Broward County holiday fun with friends and family

canoe trip at Jonathan Dickerson State Park, Hobe Sound

Florida Keys (2 pages)

boating at Everglades NP - with family on Fathers Day

Englewood (on the west coast)

St. Petersburg / Madeira Beach / John's Pass

DeLand and friends

Wekiwa Springs State Park, Wekiva River, alligators/turtles

Wauchula & Kayaking the Peace River plus two state parks

Wakulla Springs State Park: boat tour, alligators, & manatees

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continue on the the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAFTER you have seen all of the above, please continue on to The Big Peach, plus Cross Garden - Hell's Warning Label in Alabama