Most of my life I heard stories of the wild herpes monkeys that run free at Silver Springs and I have always wanted to see them. Legend has it that the movie Tarzan was filmed at Silver Springs in the 60’s and they brought in monkeys for the film. The thought was that they put them on an island because they could not swim & then access them when needed. It turns out that those types of monkeys were actually great swimmers. They were never able to be wrangled & were left there after filming was completed. Of course this is a very loose interpretation of stories I have heard over my 40+ years of life. 

One beautiful May morning, Quin & I were looking for something fun & new to do. We had talked at length for years about going down Silver River, into the spring and over to monkey island to see those wild things. We hopped into the double kayak & had a fabulous day exploring the spring but we did not have any luck finding the monkeys. 

Sometime later we thought we would try again. This time we knew it would be best to travel in a small boat with an engine & we thought it would be nice to have a couple of other people with us so he invited Bruce & Ning. Now Bruce is a great guy but Ning is a natural hunter & she can spot anything out in the wild. We knew if there were monkeys out there she would be the one to spot them and we were not wrong. As we coasted along she spotted movement in the distance that had gone unnoticed by the three of us and sure enough it was a monkey. How exciting! We stopped and admired it & then a few more appeared. Before we knew it they were everywhere. It was so cool. They appeared to be all different ages and some were carrying around little ones recently born. The most interesting thing to me was as soon as they realized we were not going to hurt them, one got as close to the shore as they could and signed to us that they wanted food. We were not going to give in to that request but had a feeling that many others before us had. 

We spent a lot of time admiring the monkeys. During our visit we were also surrounded by manatees which just sweetened the experience even more. The sun was starting to fade and we still had a long, slow journey back. On the way back I started reflecting on our day. If Ning hadn’t spotted the monkey we would have gone right by. Were they there the whole time, waiting to be noticed? Were they there on our last trip too? Who knows. All I am sure of is that I am grateful for the experience and thankful to have a friend that is very skilled in the wild!

Ray Wayside Boat Ramp: this is where we put the boat in at.