Our summer season ended with a bang here in Crystal River as we were forced to close down and evacuate the area in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. The drama, the tragedies, the lines at the gas pumps…the hurricane had a huge effect on our hearts and our business. As we watched the hurricane become one of the strongest on record and barrel straight for us, we prepared best we could before evacuation, then we hoped hard and prayed even harder! Our beloved manatees! Our low lying waterfront neighborhoods! Last year Hermine showed the horrible damage from a Cat 2 storm surge……how would it be during a Cat 4?? As many of us relocated and left the town we love, we wondered what we would return to. Would our boats still be floating at the docks? Would our building still be intact? What about our homes? I can tell you, this was one of the scariest experiences most of us have had here on the Nature Coast!
Fast forward two days when the storm took a swift and unexpected turn to the West…and just missed us! As we all returned to our homes, most of us were blessed with little damage or flooding; however, the nearly week long power outage that followed kept Citrus County (and most of Florida) in a paralyzing grip. Oh…the things we take for granted! Electricity has become such a part of our lives that we become panicked without it. Our families, friends, pets and old standbys like board games and cards become more important than ever as we bond in misery in the unrelenting heat!
ALL of us here are completely aware of how lucky we are. We watched our friends around Florida and the Keys get washed away and pounded by Mother Nature. Then, just as quickly as it passed, another hurricane took Puerto Rico in it’s sights and changed the island Nation forever! A new attitude of gratitude has set in as neighbors help one another and our customers call to check in on us with true concern. We live in a very special place, and we are surrounded with incredible people. Storm season is over now, but those memories will stick with us for a very long time.
River Ventures was back up and running just as soon as we had power and the lack of storm surge left our Bay virtually untouched! The grass beds as a result of our ongoing eelgrass projects are healthy and lush, and good thing because our manatees are hungry!! These last few weeks have been awesome for manatee encounters and we have all been surprised at how little effect the hurricane seemed to have on them, in fact the babies seem especially playful! The springs are recharged, the animals are beginning to migrate home for the winter and autumn is setting in. We have so much to look forward to!
October and November are excellent times to come and visit our Wildlife Refuge! As the seasons change we see dozens of species of birds and fish moving towards the springs, the humidity lessons and the sunrise becomes world class! Typically, prices to travel are more affordable and anywhere you go will not be as crowded as during school breaks and Holidays. Come and see us soon, take advantage of the slow season, lower rates and the attached coupon code REPEAT10 for our REPEAT CUSTOMERS!! We appreciate you, and we’re not afraid to show it! Can’t wait to see you again, until then, Peace, Love & Manatees from our family to yours!