Sharing Our Love for the River
Captain Mike’s Lazy River Cruises in Dunnellon, FL, has been offering guided boat tours down the Withlacoochee River since 1997. Originally from Wichita, KS, Captain Mike has lived all over the mid-West. He moved to Florida in his early 30s and eventually bought a home on the Withlacoochee River.
Exploring the area, Captain Mike couldn’t understand why no one offered boat tours of the beautiful river he lived by. He soon learned that the river could be tricky with all of its rocks, as well as its tendency to rise and fall each year depending on the amount of rainfall. But this didn’t deter Captain Mike! He set out to get his captain’s license
After passing the license course, and replacing several propellers on his boat, Captain Mike discussed a business opportunity with Tim Channel, owner of Stumpknockers – offering boat tours at the restaurant. Thus, Captain Mike’s Lazy River Cruises was born and has been docking at Stumpknockers since 1997.
You’ll find Captain Mike giving tours on the river for as long as he can drive a boat and spot the wildlife!
About Captain Mike
I was born in Wichita, Kansas, I lived all over the mid west growing up and moved to Texas when I was 24. I moved to Florida when I was 31 and now consider Florida my home. After several moves in the St. Petersburg area I once again moved North. Yes, not far but still North to Citrus County and bought a place on the Withlacoochee River.
When I moved to Citrus I did what most folks do and I explored the area and with a couple of the boat tours. Living on what I thought was the perfect place on this beautiful river, I could not believe that no one was doing the tours in this area. After a year or so on the river I found out why. The river can be tricky with all of its rocks. The river tends to rise and fall each year depending on rainfall. After doing some of the tours in the area and talking to some of the guides I found I needed a Captains license. I went to Crystal river and signed up for my Captains license course. After passing the course with flying colors and replacing several propellers I talked to Tim Channel, owner of Stumpknockers, about starting the tours from behind the restaurant. And the rest is history. I have been doing the tours since 1997 and plan to be here for as long as I can drive a boat and spot the wildlife.
Poem About the Withlacoochee River
“The little great river” is what that Indian name means.
I have known this grand old Lady since I was just a boy,
So please treat her with respect while she gives you so much joy.
The gorgeous Withlacoochee is rich in history,
If you spend much time on her, you’ll learn her mystery.
From the very heart of Florida, high in the old Green Swamp,
is a massive source of water, that’s where she starts her romp.
If you stand in her beginning and wonder where she’ll go,
Why, she’ll take you all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Now she has been real high and she has been real low,
but in her hundred and fifty miles she has a lot to show.
If these old cypress trees could talk, what an awesome tale they’d tell,
Of the many kinds of people she has served so very well.
Prehistoric man made a living on her banks,
and all the rest of us would like to tell her “thanks.”
As we sail down this grand old Lady, it makes us all a kin,
to the Miccosukee, Seminole and all who here have been.
The trappers, hunters, loggers and swimmers in her springs.
From dugouts to steamboats and all that’s in between,
She could fill the Okeechobee with all the boats she’s seen.
Early in the morning when the mist begins to rise,
If you look real close you can almost see some eyes.
Deep back in the swamp, beyond the cypress knees,
Is a cougar or Osceola’s ghost peering through the trees?
Oh we need her and we love her, but we’re not here alone,
You see all these wild critters call this place their home.
We are just intruders as far as they’re concerned,
And while we’re playing in their backyard, we have a lot to learn.
There’s deer wading in the creek, turtles sunning on a log,
Oh, look, yonder goes a big wild hog.
A coon is fishing for his lunch while a fish fans out his bed,
A tick bird cleans a gator’s mouth, while Osprey circle overhead.
To use her to their advantage, man has changed her so,
But to restore her and to preserve her is where we ought to go.
To protect this grand old Lady is really quite a chore,
But we’ll step up to the task and keep on doing more.
We’ll share with you now my friend, or even in the morning,
But with that gift you see, comes a subtle warning.
You can’t help but love her, if you spend much time around her,
So when you leave her friend, leave her like you found her.
– By Larry A Hartman
April 30, 1998