Swimming with Florida’s Manatees

February 13, 2014 at 10:54 am (fine art photography, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Wildlife) (, , , , , )

Baby Manatee

Baby Manatee

Swimming with the manatees is one of the peak experiences of my life.  These sweet, gentle creatures come to Florida’s warm springs when their feeding areas in the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean are too cold.  They may huddle there for several days during cold snaps, but often travel back and forth to feed and rest.  Since the springs are 72 degrees, they provide the warmth they need to avoid hypothermia.

Manatee in King Spring

Manatee in King Spring

Of course, this migration sparked an amazing tourist migration as well.  Tour boat companies know where the manatees are, and do their best to teach visitors good manatee manners to avoid harassing or disturbing them.  I realize that, as a former U.S. Fish & Wildlife employee, protecting the wildlife is the priority, and there are some who say any human interaction with the manatees is bad.  However, I believe that when you give people an emotional connection to the resource (thanks Freeman Tilden) they are more likely to “take ownership” and want to protect it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cindy and Marilyn’s Excellent Manatee Adventure

January 22, 2014 at 9:46 am (National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Photography, Wildlife) (, , )


This is the season for manatees in Florida, and I did something I’ve always wanted to do – swim with them.  Actually, my son and I did this about 15 years ago, but it was later in the season and the manatees weren’t in the crystal clear springs since the weather was warmer.  We encountered them in the bay, with low visibility.  Now I was going in cold weather and in clear waters, and I was determined to photograph them, so I bought a Nikon CoolPix A110 at Best Buy the day before.  It is waterproof to 59 feet and was the easiest to use of the three waterproof cameras they had in stock.  Plus, how can you go wrong with Nikon? Read the rest of this entry »

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