Three Sisters Springs: First Day Open After Restoration

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Those of us who treasure Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida, were excited to see the springs re-open on November 15, 2016. It has been 7-1/2 months of construction by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and their contractors. Three Sisters Springs has been closed to the public and manatees the whole summer. Here are some of the pictures I took and observations during my first manatee day this season in the springs.

My First Manatee in Three Sisters Springs Right After it Opened After 7 Months of Shoreline Restoration! Because of Our Enormous Super Moon Tides, Wind and Other Factors, Visibility Wasn’t the Best, But These are Some of My Better Photos from November 15th.  ***(Note: because my computer is in for repair I downloaded these RAW photographs and edited these exclusively on my iPad. It was a very interesting learning experience, although I miss the color accuracy of my calibrated monitor, it’s a good on-the-go workflow).

Mixed feelings, that is what I have after spending three hours underwater back in Three Sisters Springs on opening day, November 15th. Continue reading

Little Manatees Are Born To Explore!

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Here’s another short video I’ve shared on Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo chronicling baby manatee adventures! I think you will find manatee calves and their mothers are not so unlike us, in many many ways😇💙

Little Manatees – Born To Explore! by Carol Grant on Vimeo:

I’ll have more video to come, but manatee season will be ramping up soon so forgive me if I’m busy underwater observing the precocious little manatees!

Best, Carol

 

Baby Manatees Are Too Cute!

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Baby animals have a particular penchant for being very cute! Little manatee calves rank right up there with the absolutely most adorable junior creatures I’ve encountered! I’d go out on a limb and say they are the “cutest” but I don’t want to upset any other animal moms, especially the mother humpback whales who I witnessed underwater showing off their own offspring a few years ago!

Since I upgraded my underwater camera outfit a couple of years ago to the Nikon d7200 I’ve been able to take some nice HD video and my catalog of clips of adorable young manatees is growing. I still have it housed in a trusty Subal underwater housing and their glass dome port works well for video also.  Before this camera that produces video I used a GoPro mounted on top of my setup and captured some incredible moments also, although not quite at the quality of my Nikon. Still, my video vaults are bursting at the seams with cute little manatee antics and I want to share them with you.

Here is the first in a series of manatee compilation videos. I will keep them under 60 seconds so I can post on Instagram, etc. Possibly I’ll put together a longer one if anyone can’t get enough of the pudgy little manatees😇.     Best, Carol

Manatees Are Just Too Cute! On Vimeo:

 

Manatees Support Pink

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There is lots of “Pink” 💗 floating around for this October 2016 Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s important! Many of you know I’m a six-year breast cancer survivor who feels enormously blessed with each and every new day of life! But did you know manatees have intimate ties to our awareness crusade? Manatees get their name from the Carib Indian word “manati” which translates to “woman’s breast”. Possibly observing manatees nursing their little ones is the inspiration behind the original name? Or maybe the first inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands had tales of mermaids too? Early Spanish and Portuguese explorers adopted the local “manati” name for the marine mammal also, but they mistook the meaning for “two hands” which focused on the manatee’s two flippers that are quite “hand-like”.

“Manati” is the Original Carib Indian Name for the Manatee, the Root Word Meaning “Woman’s Breast”. See the Pink on this Manatee’s Forehead? Is She Participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Maybe Not Directly as the “Pink” is from Her Rubbing on a Boat Hull or Something Similar that Had Not Fully Dried Yet. Although, Who Really Knows What this Female Manatee is Communicating?

Our Gal Manatee Has Quite the Color Sense! Pink Paint from Rubbing on a Boat Hull or Something Similar is All Down Her Back! She’s into Pink!Manatee,pink paint,springs,©CarolGrant,

I photographed this pretty and charismatic manatee gal in February 2010. Continue reading

In Search Of Cecil the Sea Serpent – Manatees, Wolfeels & Friends

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Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent was a glowing bright spark during my childhood that spawned countless fanciful adventures. Cecil was real…, as real as the fresh green grass, bright blue sky and the vast cerulean blue sea!  I would imagine many life forms were Cecil, or at least friends of Beany and Cecil, the 1960s cartoon series that was a staple of my childhood.

1964 Kodachrome: Myself at Five and My Iguana Named “Pinky”. I Pretended Pinky Was a “Cecil-Like Character” Always Up for a Helpful Exciting Adventure!Carol with Iguana 1963

carol_pinky_63_back-2Found at my Grandfather’s house, it’s a rather faded and stuck-to-glass Kodachrome print from this lovely day in August 1963. Yes, that’s me at five years old and, yes, that is an iguana my Dad picked up from a market in Mexico and brought back as a present for me Continue reading

Manatee Lagoon and Blue Heron Bridge

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Two and a half stories high…, Wow! That’s a BIG manatee photo! And it’s my underwater photograph! I’ll admit it’s been a bit daunting to see it in person, finally, and I’ll honestly say it’s really impressive, lovely and makes a bold statement!

That’s My BIG Manatee Photograph Along With Gray Snapper Swimming On The Wall At Manatee Lagoon! The Cousteau Quote Gladdens My Heart!Manatee Lagoon,manatee wall photo,Carol Grant

A few weeks ago I took off on a last-minute journey across Florida to visit Manatee Lagoon, see my enormous manatee photo on their wall and scuba dive at Blue Heron Bridge. Continue reading

My Florida Anniversary

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Thirty years ago today, May 1st, 1986, I moved to Florida! I was a California gal, born and raised, who lived all over California, the Western US and Hawaii, but something called to me from Florida and I came…! Was it the manatees? I had been fascinated by “sea cows” since I was a very little girl. Manatees and so much more…, I love Florida and it became the place I felt most at home!

This bit of manatee video sums it up to me! Of course there is much more to my thirty-year anniversary in Florida than manatees, but the beautiful, natural, majestic and nonchalant nature of this unique marine mammal says a lot about my quest!

An Adult Male Manatee Exhales With Gusto in the Warm Paradise of Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida. January 2015.

I am looking back on moving here to Florida thirty years ago and the adventures that have transpired! Continue reading

Cavorting Manatees In Clearwater Harbor Marina

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Many folks were spending a sunny Saturday, the 9th of April, perusing delicacies at the Pierce Street Market, harbor front Clearwater Bay. Some very fit participants were even practicing for the Iron Girl Clearwater Competition the following day. But little did these land dwellers know, something rather dramatic was brewing in the waters just yards away!

Florida manatees happened to have their own frisky agenda this fine spring day. Now it’s not unheard of to spy manatees around and about Clearwater Bay. Although, a group of twelve or more manatees together in shallow nearshore waters is unusual and sure got my attention! Since images speak so much more eloquently than I possibly can, here’s a minute of video to give you the flavor of this rare event:

Manatees Cavorting in Clearwater Harbor Marina. About 6:15pm, Saturday April 9, 2016. A Rare Event Right in Front of Coachman Park.

What just happened here? Continue reading

Wrinkles the Birthday Manatee

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Believe it or not, “I want more Wrinkles for my Birthday” said the 50-something year old lady. That’s me and that was my wish!👍 I have a tradition of setting out to observe manatees on my birthdays. This past February 11th I wondered what adventure awaited? Little did I know a very fat little male manatee calf with deep wrinkly folds that jiggled as he swam, was also in search of adventure! We met that day and here is his story in pictures and video:

I Have Seen Many Manatee Calves Underwater But “Wrinkles” Is Definitely One Of The Fattest! His Mom Feeds Him Well! Here He Is With Mom, Look At Those Fat Folds Of Wrinkles! Feb. 11th, 2016.manatee,Florida,calf,wrinkles,©CGrant

To celebrate my foray into Instagram, this photo and short video is the first thing I’m going to post @carolgrantinsta. Here’s the HD version of the video on Vimeo. Look at those precious deep fat wrinkly folds! Now that is a healthy male manatee calf – Well Done Mom! Continue reading

Leap Day Manatees

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Leap Day! It’s a phenomena that happens every four years at the end of February to keep our calendars on point. I look on it as an “extra” or “bonus” day, and who doesn’t need an extra day! 😀

This Leap Day 2016 I wanted to use my day to go see what the manatees were up to. You may know I had a very lucky Leap Day in 2008 when I happened upon a newborn manatee in front of Three Sisters Springs. But more about that later… See, I also wanted to see the manatees on Leap Day 2012, although it was so hot so early, that the manatees had already skedaddled out of the springs to warmer, more food-rich waters. Thus I was determined to spend February 29, 2016, this recent past Leap Day, observing manatees as I felt it would be another lucky day. I was right!

A Female Manatee Is Quite Curious About The Company and Poses Along With A Friend! Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River. Leap Day, February 29, 2016.manatee,friend,curiosity,peaceful,©CGrant

It wasn’t just this adorable gal manatee who came out of the manatee-only resting area to see what we were all about…, there were many manatees in clear, blue water on this lucky Leap Day. Here’s a sampling: Continue reading

January Manatees Times Seven

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Hello! I’ve been busy observing manatees this unique January 2016! I say unique because it’s sometimes been sunny and mild, other times very cold and extremely windy. That is a peak time for manatees to seek refuge! After a very warm December, January has turned out to be rather cold and the weather quite volatile. Despite any obstacles I have been in the water to chronicle the lives of our beloved sirenians – as I do every January, although this January it is harder to encounter decent underwater photographic conditions. In these seven examples I have succeeded in different aspects of photographing what I’m interested in and trying new things. There is a “Challenge on Nature Photography” going on right now across Facebook. Usually folks nominate a new person each day. I was nominated, so instead of posting new images for seven days on Facebook, I’m putting seven here and linking to #challengeonnaturephotography.

Without further ado – here’s seven examples of what me and the manatees have been up to this month:

#1 – Mother and Calf Display Affection and Bask In Sun Rays. Wed. January 20th.Manatee_mom_calf_20Jan-2609

Due to cold weather and large numbers of manatees, Three Sisters Springs has been closed sometimes, but open others. Continue reading

Blue Meets The Manatees

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He journeyed across land and the vast Atlantic Ocean. Crocheted by loving hands, he was imbued with a type of life-force that exuded compassion and kindness. I named him “Blue”…

To celebrate the new highest-ever manatee count released today, January 15, 2016, of 1,042 manatees in the Kings Bay, Crystal River and Homosassa Springs areas, here’s a story about this adventurous crocheted little siren, Blue 😃. I’ll also attach today’s press release and two recent photos from this week when they were conducting the aerial manatee counts.

Safely Enconsed In His Diving Bell, Blue Meets His Young Manatee Cousin Out Front Of Three Sisters Springs. January 2014.

A Few Days Ago On Monday, January 11, 2016, A Young Manatee Calf Swims Back Into Three Sisters Springs (the day before the recent record aerial manatee counts). Blue Is Proud!

Continue reading

Hello 2016!

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Hello 2016! As this first day of the brand new year draws to a close, my thoughts harken back to some of my favorite manatee moments of this year just past, 2015. I assembled this collage of special moments covering early and later months in 2015.

Memorable Manatee Moments–Jan. to Dec. 20152015_Fav_manatees-1K2

A manatee says, “Hello” to me on my birthday, my husband and a good friend each experience a special moment with adoring manatees, and the beauty of the springs provides a fitting frame for these captivating marine mammals. This is merely a small sample of cherished memories throughout 2015. Continue reading

Hello Manatees-East Meets West

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Florida’s manatees are indeed world famous! And some of the few remaining natural warm freshwater manatee wintering sites are in Crystal River’s Kings Bay, part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This is also one of the few places one can observe these gentle giants underwater. And this I am very thankful for.

Days Japan, a very well respected photojournalism magazine, contacted me before Thanksgiving and asked me to write some text to go along with the five photographs they had picked out. I was excited to write an article and captions that would be translated in Japanese. Indeed I think the Japanese lettering goes well with our manatees’ personalities! What do you think?

Days Japan Magazine 1st Page of my Manatee Article (pg. 56) with Lovely Japanese Characters!Days Japan,page 1,manatee article,page 56

Would you like to know more about the article and the photographs contained therein?  Continue reading

Manatee Babysitter

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Thanksgiving brings everyone together, so inevitably sometimes there appears the odd “unwelcome guest”, also known as “The Guest Who Would Never Leave”. This happens in manateeland too, and here is their day-before-Thanksgiving story.

If you have gone to see manatees you know it’s been difficult to observe them lately because it’s so unseasonably warm. That’s good for manatees though, warmth assures they have extra opportunities to feed, take care of their calves and socialize before the winter cool down when they gather at the springs.

Theo and I went on Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving. I knew it would be a 50/50 chance of seeing manatees in the clearer springs at Crystal  River. But we gave it a go and hoped for good luck!

male manatee, mom and calf, springs Surprise! Early arrivals! An eager male manatee chases an algae-covered mom and calf at Three Sisters Springs.

Manatees arrived earlier than I predicted, but fortunately I know this can occur so we were ready. And little did I know we would witness a bit of manatee drama.  Continue reading