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

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

Just Add Manatees

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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

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

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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March Manatees Part 1

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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

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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

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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Top 10 Cute Manatee Kids!

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Manatees are curious, gentle, charismatic, and appealing marine mammals, and manatee kids are ten-times so! Whether it’s investigating everything around and about, learning the art of flipper-turning, demonstrating new buoyancy and swimming skills, fine-tuning snout rubbing, meeting other manatees, exploring or just being the subject of its mother’s pride, manatee kid’s antics are just plan cute!

Here are my Top 10 Cute Manatee Kids (all linked from my new Oceangrant.com website that includes many additional photographs of manatee calf cuteness):

#10 – Mother Manatee with Calf Behind – How cute is this? Not only are this mother manatee and her male calf floating peacefully with beautiful reflections in the calm waters, but junior has his snout touching mom’s behind. Awwwww!Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. A calf nudges its mother while both float in warm blue spring water. A peaceful and tranquil touching scene with reflections. Horizontal orientation with beautiful light rays. Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

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New Oceangrant Website!

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Ahhhh new beginnings, the hopeful feeling carries over into my new underwater photography website and blog that I’ve been working on — very diligently. Manatees, manatees and more manatees, the new Oceangrant site starts off with nearly 700 quality photographs, the vast majority focused on our charismatic sirenian the Florida manatee. And I have more manatee photographs to add! I believe this is the largest and best quality collection of diverse and rare images of the Florida manatee around.

PhotoShelter is the service I was interested in using for my redesigned site, and then came the release of their new cutting-edge BEAM templates. I was impressed and chose the new Shuffle design as the best way to display my varied collection of manatee images. Each of the new BEAM templates are cool in their own right, but Shuffle fascinated me with the Portfolio page that can be focused on your website visitor’s needs and interests. I have my Portfolio page divided into five categories that draw from five photo galleries out of my 14+ galleries. It’s intuitive and the structure can be picked up by playing around with it.

Here is how my new manatee portfolio page is set up: First, load time on oceangrant.com (or manatees.photoshelter.com if one finds their web address for my site) is very fast for so many photos, sized for whatever device is being used. Next, clicking on ALL pulls images from each of my featured manatee galleries. It loads them in sequence, e.g., one image from first gallery featured, one image from second, and on and on. ALL quickly displays the most diverse collection, beautifully, on any screen. Note: BEAM is still in beta so I’ve notice some bugs, especially on iPhones, but those are being worked on and the issues are disappearing systematically. Here’s a computer desktop screen shot and one from my iPad of my ALL selection. (Carol Grant) (Carol Grant)

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