Leap Day Manatees

Share Button

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

Share Button

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

Hello 2016!

Share Button

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

Share Button

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

Max the Munching Manatee Calf

Share Button

Little manatees are truly special! Seeing them in the clear blue waters of Florida’s freshwater springs is indeed magical.

My second encounter with this robust little male calf occurred two days ago on a “lucky” Friday the 13th. I’ll call this calf “Max” for our narrative, as we don’t know what his mother calls him? 🙂

[Note: These color photographs were taken two days before the current USFWS sanctuary closures went into effect Nov.15-March 31 at Three Sisters Springs.]

Max the Munching Manatee takes a breath. You may be able to see a few blades of aquatic grass hanging from his snout. Nov. 13, 2015.manatee calf,Three Sisters Springs,©CGrant-oceangrant.com

Max diving down for more munching! Nov. 13, 2015.manatee calf, Three Sisters Springs, ©CGrant-oceangrant.com

During the peak winter season when manatees gather in the warm springs there are hardly any blades of tasty greens left… Continue reading

Manatee Looping Facebook Profile

Share Button

Manatees have stories to tell. I’m convinced little manatees even have more intricate adventures to unveil! Check out my new Facebook looping video as my Profile Pic:

See him in action: Carol Grant Facebook

Of course, little manatees are exceedingly curious…! Would you like to know a little of the intrigue behind the scenes? Continue reading

First Manatee of the Season

Share Button

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

Share Button

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

Continue reading

Everyone Is Talking Manatee

Share Button

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

Just Add Manatees

Share Button

Right now, as I am writing this, there are manatees moving into the freshwater spring areas around Crystal River, Florida. Yea! Their arrival is a gradual process though, so I thought you might like to see what Three Sisters Springs looks like right before the manatees arrive for the winter season.

October 24, 2014 – No Manatees Yet Enjoying The Three Spring Vents

Three Sisters Springs, no manatees yet,

March 27, 2014 – Note The Same Three Spring Vents In March!

Manatees, Three Sisters Springs, mom and baby, peaceful

The green lyngbya algae blankets areas invasively all around Crystal River. Even the lovely Three Sisters Springs is not immune. Note the difference at the end of the season in late March. Where did the lyngbya go?  Continue reading

Man and Manatee Project

Share Button

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

Protective Manatee Moms

Share Button

Manatee mother and calf bonds are one of the strongest bonds of all underwater marine mammals. Often this equates to a touching sight of mom tucking baby under her ample tail fluke and steering the little one around in safety.

20140611-202752-73672184.jpg
Continue reading

Manatee Protection Signs

Share Button

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.

Continue reading

March Manatees Part 1

Share Button

Manatees in March – what is special about this time of the year in the freshwater Florida springs? First, we are very lucky to see manatees in March as if it warms a lot in late February a warm March will beckon manatees to leave the springs and spread out early.

If we have a cooler March, the manatees will tend to stick around near the warm springs and this becomes my favorite time of year to see them. The lovely blue spring water seems more abundant in March due to strong sunlight and milder cold fronts. There are more delightful mothers with their young ones out and about too. I find it peaceful in places like Three Sisters Springs during much of March. Yes, Spring Break is upon us, but I don’t go on busy weekends and find that when I do go the manatees have the springs mostly to themselves. Also the Manatee Watch volunteers do a good job supervising in and around the springs. It becomes truly quiet and serene as you will see in this series of photographs.

 Manatee Mother and Her Young Female Calf – March 4, 2014Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. Horizontal orientation. A young female manatee calf with a thick algae layer poses next to its mother in the warm blue freshwater of Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

This young female calf above sports a blanket of thick algae and a bit of a little “grin”. Continue reading

Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes

Share Button

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!

Continue reading