Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sand Boils

Sunday, we rode down to Rainbow Springs to see a place we had not seen since our childhood.

The last time I was there, as a kid, it was in the middle of nowhere. Today, it is surrounded, right up to the Park Service boundary fence, by cookie cutter homes on tiny lots.

Back then, it was a place of glass bottom boats, ornamental gardens, classic preMouse roadside zoo, and the usual restaurant/gift shop.
My Mom said they had to drive across a cow pasture to get to it. I have great memories of that day, mostly pictures in my mind of peering out the glass windows of the tour boats in complete, awestruck wonder.

I was a fish lover even then and it was paradise ... I'm sure my nose prints were permanently etched into the tourboat windows.

What was once a private preDisney attraction is now a state park. This has also happened to Homosassa Springs and WeekiWachee Springs.

These springs and surrounding land are so valuable to the health of the rivers they feed, and therefore the Gulf estuaries, and therefore the Gulf, and therefore the Ocean, and therefore the planet, ... that we can't afford to let them go on the market and become golf subdivisions. So we pony up tax dollars to protect them for our grandchildren and beyond.

Those are bailouts I can live with.

You don't get downhill vistas like this much in Florida. Much of these mounds are from early phosphate mining operations.

The picture above shows an area of sand boils, which are mini springs with just enough flow to keep the sand moving, but not enough to scour it away.

Here is a formation of bluegills hovering over a few sand boils.

Their wingman (wingfish?) leads the way.

Of course, if you are a bluegill or any other small fish, you need to avoid the Grèbe à bec bigarré. The crystal clear water of the spring must make it challenging for the fish and crawfish to hide from this bird.

This sign is standard issue at Florida state parks where swimming occurs. It's more of a, "Well, we warned you" lawyer induced liability prophylactic than actual danger.
Most of the gator attacks in Florida take place outside of parks. Swimming areas in parks are so busy that any sensible gator stays away during the day... usually.

Above is a little video ... under a minute of the sand boils. The voices you hear are just other park visitors walking by as I filmed.

This one is shorter and more interesting than yesterday's "MAN vs. PALM FRONDS" video, so give it a go.

Tomorrow on PF: Well, I'm not really sure, but something usually happens.


Sayre said...

I remember going on glass-bottom boat and jungle boat tours at Wakulla Springs when I was little. I thought about taking my boy, but the hydrilla has grown up so much, it's hard to see anything. I used to take him there swimming when he was little and tell him stories about when my grandmother used to bring me there. I really hope our two counties can get it together to save Wakulla - it's the biggest natural spring in the state!

Dani said...

What a beautiful place! We'll have to look into going there one weekend.

Kittikity said...

Those sand boils are really neat.. I love mother nature.. There's nothing like her..

elpbulls said...

Neat! I wanna go. Maybe a little spring break trip? Love ya!

Florida Beach Basics said...

cool video! I'm an unabashed admirer of our local taxpayer-approved and funded Environmentally Endangered Lands program that started acquiring environmentally sensitive lands in Brevard County in 1990 and makes them available to the public for passive recreation and education. I'm a Floridian since the early 1960s - ah, the good old days.

Anonymous said...

I remember going to Rainbow Springs when I was little. It might be a nice overnight trip now. I went through Crystal River and Homosassa this past Sunday. Seems I'm always in too much of a hurry to get home. Sigh.


Floridacracker said...

I haven't been to Wakulla for too long. Gotta hate that hydrilla.

Go make some memories.
:) Your little one will love it I bet.

They feel funny to the toes too.

Good idea! Luv you!

If only they had started in the 1800's! Just imagine.

I know. I hate it when I pass by neat places and don't make time to stop.

SophieMae said...

Radicool video! Makes me wanna read Cross Creek again... at least the part about Jody's flutter mills. And your mention of phosphate makes me wanna go to Mulberry. Reckon I'm weird, coz I think that's such a cool place. It's been years, of course, since I've been there, so I'm sure it's nothing like I remember.

Arkansas Patti said...

Great pics. Such clear water, the fish look grabable.

Lynn said...

Gorgeous!!! I LOVE seeing such clean clear water. Don't see much of that here in Lake county anymore. Then again the last time I saw such clear water was in Miami Beach early sunday morning. Love those calm quiet times w/o the noise of tourists.

Cathy S. said...

Ah, but the sign speaks truth. My kids have been swimming several times in that swim area with a little gator gliding underneath them. The azaleas are lovely. Oh, I love Rainbow River. MUST MAKE RESERVATIONS NOW....

caroline said...

The bluegills hovering look like swallows hanging in the summer cool is that crystal water!
No crystal water here, the creek was "steaming" this morning, it was -10F on the way to school at 7:30.
Nippy in these Black Hills today.

Floridacracker said...

I've never been to Mulberry.

And there were a lot of them too!

It really is a pretty spot. I'm going back that way with my kayak.

Cathy S,
True, I had a similar experience at Alexander springs a while ago.

-10 nippy? Brrrrr! It's 70 degrees right now at 9:20 pm!

Alan said...

Gotta give the Mouse at least a little credit - he helps create those tax dollars to pay for the state parks... so at least there's that...

Love the video, and the view in that first photo is great - very colorful.


From the St Petersburg Times, March 16, 2008:

"Nestle came into Florida and managed to pull off quite the coup.
The company got a permit to take water belonging to Floridians — hundreds of millions of gallons a year from a spring in a state park — at no cost to Nestle.
No taxes. No fees. Just a $230 permit to pump water until 2018."

Full article here.

Floridacracker said...

I give them credit for the overdevelopment and trashification of central Florida.

Thanks. Going to read the article now.

Danielle Says Hello said...

Oh I just love Rainbow Springs..we are so blessed to live in this area!!!

Floridacracker said...

Wow, hello Danielle! Good to hear from you.

Kimberlee said...

I don't know what happened to the comment I left yesterday...guess I was a little distracted by my students. Anyway...just wanted to let you know that I shared your sand boil video with some 6th/7th graders and they were totally amazed (as I knew they would be!). Heck, I was pretty amazed, myself!!! The super clear water was a big hit as well. The river here is extremely muddy/opague. Okay, so am I understanding correctly that the boils are the result of water (not air) bubbling up from an underground spring? And is the water cold or warm? Just want to make sure that I was on the right track with the kids' questions.