First Manatee of the Season

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About two weeks ago I was putting myself through some paces with a bit of preseason in-water camera practice, when low-and-behold a young female manatee appeared!

Hello There Young Lady!

This manatee was a little curious, but her primary goal back in Three Sisters Springs was to munch! She seemed to know exactly what she wanted for her vegan meal. I suppose her mother did a good job of showing her where early-season tasty bits were to be found. Continue reading

Benson At Three Sisters Springs

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Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, is a gem amongst Florida’s lovely natural springs. If you have followed the news lately surrounding the springs, some more restrictions reducing the number of in-water visitors are going to be implemented. Although remember, the nice boardwalk will continue to be open for above water viewing. I just pray the natural, magical beauty that is the essence of Florida’s jeweled freshwater springs, remains intact. Luckily, manatees can still be viewed from kayaks and in-water at a number of other spring sites around King’s Bay, including just out front of Three Sisters Springs.

Reminiscing on all the magical times I and my friends have had at Three Sisters Springs, this memory of my friend Meredith and her dog Benson, is one of the happiest and most poignant.

Benson & Meredith Wishing Me a Happy Birthday at Three Sisters Spring: Feb. 11, 2015

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Skinny Mother Manatee

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On February 23, 2015, a very small and skinny mother manatee swam into Three Sisters Springs along with her young male calf. A Manatee Watch volunteer at Three Sisters Springs noticed and asked me about the pair. I got a series of underwater pictures for ID to send to researchers and officials at U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

Feb 23 2015 I was asked to take photos of this very small and skinny mother manatee and her young male calf. Three Susters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

Feb 23 2015  A very small and skinny mother manatee and her young male calf. Note deep vertical chest dent. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.

Since our Florida weather warmed up so fast and dramatically, I haven’t seen or heard about them since.

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Manatees Solve Deflategate

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Sirenians hold many secrets and have for hundreds of years. In the wake of the New England Patriots “Deflate-gate” scandal, I went undercover–and underwater–to see what manatees knew about the mysterious deflated footballs.

Manatees are experts on buoyancy, bubbles and breathing. They don’t even think about PSI when inflating and deflating themselves, it all comes naturally! Manatees know a lot more than us about what constitutes a hard and a soft football. Here is a photographic lead documented on January 20, 2015.

“Uh…, it wasn’t me” says this manatee back in Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River Florida. I found out more on further investigative questioning…, you’ll see in the video evidence below…

Florida, manatees,deflategate,underwater

Following that lead from Tuesday, January 20th, Continue reading

Everyone Is Talking Manatee

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New manatee arrivals, new spring closures to protect the species and new rules intended to help control crowds has everyone talking, including this pair of manatees in deep conversation.

Two Manatees Seem To Be Discussing All The Changes Proposed At Three Sisters Springs. From December 9, 2014, Three Sisters Springs.

Two manatees, talking, whiskers, snouts

I promised photographs of recent manatee arrivals and here are several from December and one from November 2014. Continue reading

Polite and Sexy Manatee Buzz

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People.com recently posted “The Sexiest Manatees Alive”. You couple that with some great new manatee viewing data, along with my photographs on the VisitCitrus.com site, and a post is in order! I know I said my next post would be about recently arrived manatees, but while I consult with researchers about an unusual behavior I witnessed, here’s some fun manatee buzz!

People.com “Sexiest Manatees Alive!” iPhone Screenshot. Photo by Carol Grant

My manatee photo, sexy manatee, People.com, Carol Grant

Honestly, let’s give “Little Boy Blue Manatee” a break here. He was a documented orphan I photographed nursing off at least two different females in 2010! Due to his rotund appearance it was concluded he was adopted and doing great. He’s a boy…, he didn’t stick it out…, he just has a lot down there… and he’s proud of it! Who knew People.com would notice for their “sexy manatee” post? Here’s the actual photograph:

Little Boy Blue Manatee Floats Over A Warm Spring in January 2010

Manatees,Three Sisters Springs, Florida

Visit Citrus has also put together an updated website showcasing how to politely observe manatees. Many of my photographs are used.  Continue reading

Manatees–Sirens of Crystal River Details

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WetPixel, a premier on-line underwater photographic website, has posted manatee images of mine and a short introduction I wrote in their “Full Frame” gallery. Here is the link: Carol Grant: Manatees –Sirens of Crystal River

Being all about the images and letting them speak for themselves, WetPixel’s Full Frame includes short titles. I wrote some more descriptive captions, though, I thought some of you might be interested in. I have included a quote of the text I wrote and the images 1-23 in the order they are in on Full Frame. The only thing added is a descriptive caption below each image for those interested in a little more story behind the shots, plus the month and year of the photograph. In the future I’ll write more extensively about each photograph, but for now here is much more data. I also note the three brand new images I debuted for WetPixel’s Full Frame!  Continue reading

Manatee Guides Trailer Wrap

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Manatees all over a huge trailer? You can thank Tim Martell of Manatee Guides for the concept of using three of my large-format photographs. I think this comes under the heading of “Only In Florida”. Here is what I’m talking about and I understand it has become quite the conversation piece in and around Ft. Myers, Florida. Trailer photos are courtesy Manatee Guides.

Manatees, Manatee Guides, trailer wrap, kayaks, left side,

Manatees, Manatee Guides, trailer wrap, kayaks,

Late in 2012, Tim contacted me with the idea of wrapping his kayak trailer in three of my manatee photographs with inserts of topside pictures he took during his tours. I was very impressed with the design company’s mock-up and we worked it out for me to license him three of my manatee images to use. These are the original photographs he chose: Continue reading

Manatees–Catching Up

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Whew! I just got caught up on delivering photographs from this past manatee season! Now I get to work on finding more manatee photographs, like this one! What do you think this mom manatee is saying about the photographer to her young calf? Clearly, they are both checking me out…

Manatee Mother And Calf Pause To Check Out The PhotographerManatee Mom and Calf, inquisitive, gaze, clear Florida springs,

Many more intriguing manatee photographs await in my archives. I can’t wait to display more!  Of course, I had to finish delivering images to my very patient friends. Here is a sampling of some I burned to disk today and will be in the mail tomorrow!  Continue reading

Man and Manatee Project

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How curious are manatees? What happens when a snorkeler quietly floats nearby? Are we watching manatees or are they watching us? Let me give you a glimpse of my project to document passive, polite observation at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.

Floating quietly with hands to oneself is the best way to invite a profound interaction. This adult female manatee is curious about Meredith and is approaching to say hello. January 2014.Florida manatee, snorkeler, curious

For many years now I have been observing and photographing manatees in and around the springs of Crystal River, Florida. Continue reading

Manatee Print Proofs

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Taking lovely manatee photographs is one thing—making sure they are represented properly on a client’s wall is another. I just received four print proofs from West Coast Imaging and they are absolutely gorgeous! From time to time I’ve had hurdles with labs duplicating the Florida spring’s unique blues and cyans correctly. West Coast Imaging’s duplication of my files is as near perfect as it can be and I’m looking forward to a long relationship!

Manatee Print Proofs

iPhone pic of Manatee Print Proofs from West Coast Imaging. Phone doesn’t do them justice as they are quite stunning. Best prints I’ve ever ordered!

This is merely a quick iPhone photograph of the proofs, but you get the idea.

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Manatee Protection Signs

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These new manatee protection signs are popping up all around Crystal River, Florida. While signs to watch for manatees and a limited number of educational kiosks have been placed in coastal areas throughout Florida, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has raised the bar with these excellent signs!

Manatee protection signs

Three-panel manatee protection sign at a boat launch. Put up by USFWS, Crystal River, Florida.

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Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes

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Movies often evoke dramatic thoughts and pictures, even years later. Such is the case when I saw the movie “The Godfather”. In a suspenseful moment, after Sal Tessio retrieved a package including a fish, Clemenza says , “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” I must admit I got chills when I first saw it and I never forgot that scene. But now something’s changed and I can’t quite conjure up the drama connected with that scene. Why, you ask? I think this photograph will explain why…

Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes — January 10, 2014Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. An adult manatee rests on its back in the warm freshwater. Fish, bream, Lepomis spp. surround the resting male manatee. Verticle orientation with sun rays. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Manatees “sleep with fishes” and they do seem to enjoy it so!

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Lucky / Unlucky CC The Manatee

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Today is Friday the 13th! Though superstition calls for this to be an unlucky day, my experience is it usually has a strong element of luck to it! CC the Manatee was lucky he had so many people concerned during his rehabilitation and after his release — but two weeks ago CC was unlucky enough to encounter what was thought to be a speeding boat, ending his life.

CC the Manatee Finding His Way After ReleaseFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. February 16, 2011, CC the manatee is released for a third time. Orphaned as a small 55 pound manatee in 2006, CC goes through three releases and is rescued a few times before he is to be considred a successful release back into the wild. A few minutes after CC is released with a tracking buoy and a brand on his back he is swimming normally in the springs. Horizontal orientation blue and aqua spring waters mixing and sun rays. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Orphaned and weighing only 55 pounds, CC was rescued from the Caloosahatchee River in Ft. Myers, Florida on July 1, 2006. Many manatees that small have a hard time surviving after rescue, but CC triumphed! You could call him a very lucky manatee. Continue reading

I Heart ♥ Manatees

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Manatees are undoubtedly charismatic creatures! People love manatees, or expressed in more modern jargon: we “heart ♥” manatees. Did you know there are researchers who literally “heart” manatees?

On-Site Field Electrocardiography Of A Manatee’s HeartManatee Health Assessments, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. January 24, 2012 pm. Researchers from several federal and state agencies and other partners work together to gather data during the manatee capture and health assessments. Electrocardiography is preformed and recorded using a plastic container to shade the live imaging of the manatee's heart. The animal is only out of the water for a pre-determined safe period of time. (Carol Grant)

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