Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Manatees of Crystal River

West Indian Manatees resting in the Three Sisters Spring, Crystal River, Florida

One of the highlights of our Florida trip was kayaking around the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. I was hopeful that there would be good numbers of manatees with the recent cool weather.

Three Sisters Spring is a beautiful spring right in the town of Crystal River with crystal-clear spring water. Manatees gather here in the winter for the relatively warm water. There were probably over 50 manatees in the spring when we visited in the morning. As the day warmed, many of them headed out into the bay to feed.

One young manatee liked the attention and came up to Paul and myself and rolled over to have his belly scratched/rubbed. Pursuing (or any harassment) of the manatees is forbidden, but if they initiate contact, it is allowed.

Sleeping manatees in the spring. Every couple minutes, one would rise to the surface to breathe, apparently without waking. Florida Manatee adults get between nine to eleven feet long and typically weigh up to 1300 pounds. They were very impressive to see up close. Almost every manatee had propeller scars, which was sad.

Paul with his friend

Heading out from the rental area. After checking out the spring, we took a tour around the bay to enjoy our time on the water.

One of the underwater pictures that turned out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great pics!