Saturday, April 23, 2011

Me and the Manatee, 2008

In 2008 I was swimming and snorkeling in Blue Spring State Park. I was in the middle of the spring run, about halfway toward the St. John River from the main spring boil. As I was paddling around I turned to see two young manatees swimming directly toward me. These were a pair that had been rehabilitated either from some injury or for having been made orphans due to their mother's deaths (likely at the hands of humans). These reintroduced manatees have radio tracking devices attached to them via cables which are removed after the animals have reached a certain age. Often these manatees are habituated to human contact and seek it out. Thus it was with this pair. They just swam right up to me.

One of the pair grazing on green stuff.

They were very friendly and wanted to meet the new humans.

I couldn't resist touching the flipper as it glided past me.

Goodbye, manatee!

Most people think manatees are just these placid creatures who can barely move. But when they want to put on speed they can really move fast! After a while this pair headed off toward the main spring and the second they decided to haul they were seeming to blaze through the water and vanished upstream at a truly astounding pace.


Jack said...

That must have been a really cool experience!

HemlockMan said...

It was. You're not supposed to touch them, but I couldn't resist as one edged past me. A woman standing on the bank saw me do that and she ran down the trail and ratted me out to a park ranger. Luckily for me I was out of the water and sitting on the side of the run by the time he got there. Plus, the manatees had moved on down, so he had no one to bust.