"" Writer's Wanderings: Manatee Madness

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Manatee Madness

Kayaking on the Florida Bay has been one of the joys of our time here in the winter. We have found places to spot iguana, manatees and even a crocodile. It seems like there is always something new to discover.

On one outing we paddled down to the marina where we usually see the manatees. We weren't disappointed. There were three there floating around and snorting. Sometimes I think they are actually sunning themselves. They love the marina because when people wash the salt water off their boats, the fresh water is available to them. We've seem them actually come up to the back of the boat and suck on the scuppers (the drains) to get the fresh water. Otherwise they get their freshwater from eating the sea grass or finding a freshwater spring that empties into the salt water. They can go a long time though without the fresh water.

After a time of watching and muddling around the docks to see the manatees there we headed off for the lagoon where we have seen the crocodile and usually see lots of iguanas. We paddled through the channel and out into the lagoon and headed for the smaller end where the croc usually is.

Halfway across we noticed quite a commotion in the water. At first I thought it might be a feeding frenzy of some sort but when we realized it was a group of manatees, we knew that wasn't what was happening. As a matter of fact. . .yep. . .it became obvious. There were several males and one female. The female would break away once in a while and then the males would scramble after her. She gave them a merry chase and then they would all end up in a pile together churning up the water.

I tried to get Bob to video the action with his phone but he didn't want to invade their privacy. Such a thoughtful guy. And we certainly didn't want to get too close to take still shots. I have never seen manatees expend so much energy or move so fast.

The good news is that sometime next year, right around this time, we may get to see a baby manatee. Gestation is twelve months.

Wouldn't it be neat to see it born?

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