For this Manatee Appreciation Day I want to spread a little warm cheer that’s so much needed at this time. I’m going to tell you the story of these giant manatee buddies from the building in Chicago.
I’m taking a fond look back at what a memorable year we had in 2019. Yes, manatees were a big part of it, as always! But we also trekked over 1,000 miles across Florida, making it all the way down to Dry Tortugas National Park at the western tip of the Florida Keys. Here are some highlights:
Mustache, the baby boy manatee with the white mustache—that is a good place to start. Spring Equinox, March 20th, was the first time I saw the adorable little youngster with his mom. I’ve seen baby manatees before, most notably the little one “Angel” confirmed by Dr. Bob Bonde to have probably been born in the springs the night before that early morning Leap Day in 2008. It is interesting comparing the little calves and seeing the differences between a newborn and a manatee calf that is about two weeks old. Both are absolutely adorable!
Now look at some of the differences between the documented newborn, Angel, and the slightly older calf, the one I called Mustache, from March 20, 2019. Continue reading
Alert Diver Magazine, the high quality dive publication of Divers Alert Network (DAN), has published an article of mine called “Enchanting Manatees of Crystal River”. Here’s a little more about it.
In recent years the manatees of Crystal River have become more and more well-known. So many people have flocked to observe the charismatic sirenians that a number of additional rules and regulations have been put in place to protect these marine mammals during Florida’s winter months. I’ve done my best to succinctly outline how to respectfully see manatees in and around Crystal River. You can read the article online here:
Or browse through this Flipbook edition of the Spring 2019 Alert Diver Magazine here page 36:
While Florida’s manatees still face Continue reading
There’s several things that make experiencing another trip around the sun happy and more palatable. For myself, one of those things is being underwater in the manatee’s world. It has become a tradition for me to express my appreciation to the manatees, through photographs, on my birthday.
Monday, February 11th, was very warm but manatees still showed up and the water was gorgeous!
This young manatee lazily poked around Three Sisters Springs Continue reading
Beautiful blue warm spring water, tide recedes, a male manatee stretches, and snapper line up as if for roll call. Does it sound too fanciful to be real? Something ‘Through the Looking Glass’ author Lewis Carroll would have imagined?
The natural world is mysteriously beautiful, and this underwater scene truly did happen, as pictured. A beautiful Florida wild moment in time.
Florida manatee with snapper. People enjoy adding their own take on this.”First Day of School”? “Crossing Guard?” Could be? Only they know for sure 😉.
When manatee stretch and stir near the warm spring outflows, they may kick up invertebrates or other organisms in the sand. Although, I’ve never seen Continue reading
Fifteen to twenty miles per hour, that’s the approximate burst speed of our Florida manatees. Usually they saunter along up to 5mph, but with that powerful tail they can really turn on the speed. Here’s another in my series of telling stories and data behind recent manatee images.
A manatee’s paddle-like tail is lit with warm sunlight. This manatee is relaxed and slowly sauntering but it can reach speeds up to 20 mph. Image from March 2018, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.
In comparison, other ocean friends can move along pretty quickly too. Octopus can exceed 25 mph, Continue reading
A few days ago I visited one of my favorite places, Three Sisters Springs, part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. It is Refuge Week all across the country. Hurricane Michael passed just four days before my visit. Although Crystal River was spared significant flooding, Refuge Day was canceled. I still wanted to see how the springs fared, so I ventured there to check things out. No manatees were near Three Sisters as it’s still too hot for most manatees to make their way to Three Sisters. Also a cleanup project is ongoing in the canal out front of the springs, so the noise will discourage a manatee approaching the area. The project will soon be complete though, and we should have a cleaner canal.
My visit to Three Sisters Springs for Refuge Week. The blue sky was stunning. Sunday, October 14th.
The Three Sisters boardwalk and property was closed as it still had a little high water from the storm. Three Sisters Springs land access was reopened the following day, October 15th. Continue reading
A bright, excited and eager face greets you with overwhelming curiosity, wrinkly skin and a messy snout with algae not yet washed off. I’m talking about this adorable baby manatee, but I could be illustrating many other species of cute little ones across our planet!
Baby manatee with a messy snout and fish friend explores his environment in the springs. Recent image. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.
This is another in my series telling stories behind my recent images from the past two seasons. Continue reading
Imagine… A mammal that lives in shallow waters, eats an array of over 60 different marine and freshwater aquatic plants and literally feels its environment with tiny body hairs! And what is up with that cool manatee snout?
That’s what I’m talking about in this recent photo, the manatee’s prehensile snout.
“1: adapted for seizing or grasping especially by wrapping around”
A manatee flexes its snout with help from a flipper. Recent image. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.
What? You mean to tell me the manatee’s snout has about the same accurate sensitivity as the prehensile snout of an elephant? Continue reading
Manatees definitely have a gentle soul. I’ve observed a lot of male and female manatee behavior and I can assure you they feel tenderness and have a heart!
Next in my series of telling the stories behind various images, is this “tender touch”. I posted this photograph on Friday’s “International Day of Peace”. We can certainly learn something from the peaceful manatees!
A male manatee nudges a female with a gentle touch on her forehead. Nikon d7200 in Subal housing/8″ dome/Tokina 10-17/natural light. March 2018, Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, Florida.You may have seen news photos or video of groups of manatees mating Continue reading
Lovely blue spring water with adorable pudgy wrinkly faces and warm Florida rainbow sunlight? Sign me up! That’s what one who loves manatees dreams about! We are lucky to still have opportunities to experience these charismatic sirens on their own terms.
I’m updating my site with recent manatee photographs from the last two fall/winter seasons: 2016/2017 and 2017/2018. There’s over twenty new images already with more to come. Manatee photography has always been an adventure and a challenge, but I relish the challenge. I’m just glad there are still some opportunities to chronicle the manatee’s antics in pretty conditions.
Here’s a partial screenshot of my Oceangrant.com site (Portfolio Site link in menu above). If you click on New Images you will see new additions over the next few weeks. All from the last two seasons:
I’ll tell you a story about one of the new images.
My last post about all the amazing manatees that have made many of my birthdays memorable, drummed up a lot of interest. I thought I’d delineate which manatees and friends showed up on which of my Feb. 11th birthdays these past few years 2011-2018 and tell a bit of the story behind the shots. Of course I’ve seen manatees on birthdays before these years, but this is the best number for an impactful photo collage.
I’ll start with the latest, Feb 11, 2018 Continue reading
Tradition…, yes it applies to my time observing manatees in our lovely springs, especially on my Birthday!
Even though this last Bday on Feb 11th was unseasonably hot, we were still excited to see several manatees Continue reading
Happy Holidays 2017! I wish everyone a fun and joyous time with relatives and friends! A few days ago this sweet mother manatee and her calf swam up behind me. It was quite the seasonal surprise! Of course the charismatic pair got dibs to be featured on our holiday E-Card:
We have had odd weather lately, either too hot or too cool and not much in-between, On December 19th I visited the springs when it wasn’t too warm or too cold. Here is another Continue reading
Manatees for Halloween? As it turns out it’s not spooky at all… I love seeing my sirenian friends on Halloween – no costumes required! Then I packed up right away and headed off to DEMA (Dive Equipment and Marketing Association) convention in Orlando, relaying tales of the Halloween manatees!
Last time I saw manatees on Halloween was in 2012 Continue reading