Manatee Adventure

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Manatees are some of the most gentle, calm and curious creatures you will ever meet. They spend their days relaxing and munching on vegetation. Manatees need warm water to survive so when the temperatures drop they head to warmer waters. A favorite spot for manatees to ride out the winter months is in King's Bay, Florida. For our January adventure we journeyed to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge armed with our cameras and a kayak and spent the day surrounded by these wonderful creatures.
Hoping to see a manatee or two we were in shock when so many of them came into view. Sometimes we had to carefully maneuver around them because manatees would occasionally pop up for air. Others followed behind us while some came right up to our kayak for a quick "hello" and a closer inspection of our camera equipment. I love their beady little eyes. They remind me of the nearsighted Mr. Magoo which gave me a good chuckle when they swam within inches of the camera for a closer examination. We filmed them and never took pictures using a flash so we wouldn't hurt their sensitive eyes. 

Here in Florida we have around 5,000 of these sea cows left. Due to their slow moving nature, fast moving boats are among the manatee's top threats. It is so sad to see many of them sporting propeller scars on their backs and bodies as they leisurely float by. These creatures are naturally very friendly and they deserve our respect so we did our best to simply observe and not bother them.  

By respecting and protecting the manatees we can live in harmony with them and continue to enjoy them in the future. It would be terrible to lose these creatures forever because of our carelessness. As you can see in our video, avoiding a manatee encounter is almost impossible. Moms will pass right by with their calf in tow. Some swim along beside you, some pass under you and will even circle back around if they find you interesting enough.

We recommend adopting an almost zen like attitude if you plan a manatee adventure of your own. Being on or in the gorgeous waters of Three Sisters Springs can be the most peaceful, calming and beautiful experience. Surrounded by nature and accepted by the friendly wildlife was such an amazing feeling.




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