Happy Holidays from Us and the Manatees

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What does Christmas have to do with Manatees? In Florida, a lot! By the time the holidays roll around, most of this area’s manatees are sheltering in and around the warm freshwater springs or using various warm water power plant channels to stay warm. With our early cold snaps this season, one is sure to see some manatees jaunting about. Now that’s another special Christmas miracle if you ask me.

Manatees celebrating the festive aspects of the season. Taken on Monday of this week in the canals of Kings Bay, Crystal River, Florida.

Here is our “Holiday Greetings from the Grants” we have been sending out to friends and family for over 25 years. I’ll post it here too: Continue reading

Smithsonian Nature’s Best Photography Event at the National Museum of Natural History

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Henry, the enormous African elephant stood strong and proud while animals from his homeland, and other places far and wide, were projected around the rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. It was the evening of November 15th, nine days ago and there was a sense of magic in the air!

A Florida manatee was included. My photograph of a Florida manatee and schooling snapper was a Highly Honored winner and will now hang in the Smithsonian for a year!

Myself and my husband Theo Grant, by my manatee photograph in the Nature’s Best Photography–Windland Smith Rice International Awards. ©️Nature’s Best Awards 2018

I’m thrilled to see it in the museum and also glad it is hung low where children can easily engage with it. Continue reading

Manatee with Snapper-Smithsonian Nature’s Best Photography Exhibit

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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

All In The Flip of a Manatee’s Tail

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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

Visit to Three Sisters Springs for Refuge Week

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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

Baby Manatees Are Like Babies Everywhere

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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

Manatee Prehensile Snout

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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”

Merriam-Webster: Prehensile Definition

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

Manatee Tender Touch

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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

New Manatees

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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.
Continue reading

More About Bday Manatees

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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.

Manatees and Friends who showed up for my Feb. 11th birthdays from 2011 to 2018 years listed below. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River, FL.Bday manatees,©Carol Grant - oceangrant.com

I’ll start with the latest, Feb 11, 2018 Continue reading

Birthday Manatees and Friends

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Tradition…, yes it applies to my time observing manatees in our lovely springs, especially on my Birthday!

A few of the photos taken on my Bdays from: 2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018Manatees,my Bday,

Even though this last Bday on Feb 11th was unseasonably hot, we were still excited to see several manatees Continue reading

Happy Holidays from Carol and Manatees

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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:

HOLIDAY GREETINGS!Happy Holidays,©Carol Grant,2017,manatees

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 on Halloween and DEMA

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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!

Mom brought her young male calf into the springs for Halloween! October 31, 2017manatees,Halloween,springs,©Carol Grant,oceangrant.com

Last time I saw manatees on Halloween was in 2012 Continue reading

MANATEES AND HOME RENOVATIONS

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Yes, there comes a time when I must rise above the surface our ocean and springs to tackle necessary renovations around our home. After all I am a land-dwelling inhabitant of Planet Earth. Never fear though, manatees and other inhabitants of our watery world still feature in my daily life and the renovation.

My latest magazine cover, Sport Diver. It couldn’t have come at a better time!
Sport Diver Magazine, manatee,Carol Grant

2-page spread. Ahh, to be submerged again…
Sport Diver Magazine,manatee,Florida springs,Carol Grant

Opening up our kitchen to the view and the manatees 

The West Coast of Florida is known for its stunning sunsets and soft-sand beaches. Continue reading

Manatee Selfies

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Selfies…, well we used to call them self-portraits, but now it seems they have taken on a viral life of their own! Those who know me realize I’m always very focused on making the most of my time photographing manatees in Florida’s striking springs. I know I’m a bit light on photographs of myself as it’s not an area I put much attention on. Mainly I want compelling photographs of Florida manatees, the lovely springs, and polite passive observation of our Sirenian friends. Therefore, I often forget that some people would like to see pictures of me in the springs.

Periodically I do get requests, usually from magazines, for a photograph of myself underwater with a manatee. I didn’t have much in my archives, so I took up the new challenge! These three “selfies” are just the beginning of what turned out to be numerous photos from this day, the tip of the iceberg so to speak. I donned a more flattering mask than my usual black non-photogenic one I always wear. Then I really hoped there would be an interested manatee who wanted to be in the frame with me. It turned out I got much much more than I bargained for!? 

Manatees are curious about what Carol was up to? My vision was to include as much of the beauty of the springs, the striking light, lovely blue sky and engaging manatees in my self-portraits. I wanted to show what it is like to be underwater and photograph these unique marine mammals. February 2017.manatees,selfie,Carol Grant,springs,underwater

Since I’ve got several manatee projects on-going, I’ll include just three photographs from this experiment. The self-portrait showcase will continue after I get caught up. Continue reading