Professional boat captain Rob Manley offers historically-rich private luxury tours of the Silver River.
One of the most enjoyable and unique ways to see the natural splendor of the Silver River is on a private luxury boat tour with Captain Rob Manley. An added bonus is that he loves sharing his deep knowledge of the history of Silver Springs.
Rob, whose background includes being a yachtsman in south Florida, was a glass-bottom boat captain for a time and spent endless hours with the “old time” captains, who regaled him with information that only insiders would know.
“I love to tell the real stories,” he says with passion. “This is one of the most interesting things I have ever done—and I have been a lot of places and seen a lot of things.”
Captain Rob’s 22-foot Tri-toon pontoon boat offers comfortable and spacious seating, and there is a canopy for respite from the sun.
The 3-hour round trip tour can accommodate up to six passengers, each of whom has the captain’s attention as he shares a wealth of information about the river and the history of the Silver Springs attraction, such as the route of the original Jungle Cruise.
The captain also is very knowledgeable about the amazing wildlife, including the rhesus macaque monkeys that have been thriving in the area since the 1930s, when Colonel Tooey, who operated the Jungle Cruise, put them on a small island for his passengers to see. He thought they couldn’t swim… and the rest is history.
Captain Rob’s tour guests often rave about hitting the “trifecta” of wildlife viewing, which is seeing Florida’s beloved manatees, the wild and comical monkeys and prehistoric-looking alligators all on one tour.
There are always sightings of a wide variety of birds, such as anhingas herons, egrets and moorhens, along with turtles lazing in the sun on the riverbanks and the flashing glint of fish darting beneath the surface of the crystal-clear water.
The tours launch from the Ocala Yacht Club at Ray Wayside Park, which is three miles east of the Silver Springs State Park on State Road 40, at the confluence of the Ocklawaha River.
“My luxury tours are just for your group, whether it’s six people or even just one,” says the captain. “I just love to be able to tell the real stories of the Silver River.”
Captain Rob Silver River Tours
9564 NE 28th Lane, Silver Springs