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

Max the Munching Manatee Calf

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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

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

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

Manatee Prints

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Manatees – they are charismatic, enthralling, and undeniably cute marine mammals! Added to this, the beauty of their warm winter springs home is unparalleled. All this equals the possibility of stunning underwater prints to enjoy!

Carol Signing a 24X30 Manatee Print

Manatee print, Carol Grant, signing

I did a lot of research and spent a lot of time trying out different printers. That is why it has taken me some time to get my manatee print sales set up. Underwater photographs can 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

Manatee Buzz — About Carol Grant

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The new manatee cover photograph for Alert Diver Magazine, photographer of the week on Dive Photo Guide and the results of testing out the new Xperia phone for Sony underwater; all this has resulted in a lot of recent “buzz” about my manatee photographs. I thought I’d shed a little more light on myself and what I do.

Of course, all this is in addition to the comprehensive collection of manatee images on my own website: Oceangrant.com

Selfie — Carol Grant Waiting For Manatees On A Cold MorningThree Sisters Springs,Selfie,Carol Grant,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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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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Something’s Fishy In The Springs

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Manatees gather together in the wintertime at various warm water sites around Florida. Some of these manatees frequent natural freshwater springs. Fish also enjoy congregating near the outflows of spring water. It is here that manatees and a number of fish species share the same watery real estate until the weather warms and manatees spread out again. While together in the springs fish often surround manatees as illustrated in this photograph:

Fish Gather Around A Manatee In The SpringsFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. A manatee floats near a warm blue spring and submerged tree roots surrounded by fish, bream, Lepomis spp. and a mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus. The manatee is tolerating the bream fish attention as it is the price to pay for sharing the warm waters. Bream target dermis and dead skin on the manatee. Vertical orientation with blue water and light rays. Undisturbed, natural behavior. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Interaction between fish and manatees is an interesting behavior to observe. In fact some fish, particularly bream also known as sunfish (Lepomis spp.) and sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) are known to continually surround and peck at the manatee’s skin especially while they are resting. Note the bream below are nipping this manatee:

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Manatees: Hope Springs Eternal

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November is Manatee Awareness Month in Florida. For over 30 years proclamations have been officially made to help protect this endangered marine mammal and Florida treasure.

This November is different though, as a sense of foreboding blankets the future of the sirenians here in Florida. This year, 2013 has seen the highest mortality of manatees since record keeping began = 766 manatee deaths as of October 25, 2013 and 769 currently according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission records. Of these, 276 manatees died where red tide was prevalent in southwest Florida. Additionally, in this Florida Fish and Wildlife preliminary report an unusually high number of “Undetermined” manatee deaths were reported near the Indian River Lagoon on Florida’s east coast. It is thought to be part of a serious toxic imbalance along with a significant loss of seagrass beds, part of the manatee’s main food source.

Manatees: Hope Springs EternalFlorida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. A series of manatees gathering near the warm springs during the bitter cold period of early January 2010. Two skinny adult manatees rest as one takes a breath in the warm shallow blue spring water lit by strong warming sun rays. Another manatee forages in the background surrounded by fish, bream, Lepomis spp. Manatees need these natural warm springs to survive cold weather, like today. Horizontal orientation with blue water and strong warming sun rays with reflection. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

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