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Old 01-13-2011, 08:23 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,670

We went to Orlando for Surf Expo on Saturday (Jan. 8, 2011), and decided among other stops to drive up to Blue Springs. It is about two hours round trip, no diving is allowed this time of year either. They stop going in the water around November 15 each year out of consideration for the manatee that winter here. The thing that lured me up was a vision of over 200 manatees stacked up like sausage links around the source area of the spring. I thought it would make for some nice shots. They had reported seeing about 240 manatee that morning in the spring.

The river, water levels were lower than the last time we were up. Also, there were a ton of those black sailfin catfish. They were were finger length in September, now they are whoppers. Take a good look at this image, there is something lurking here that I'll come back to in a while.

So we arrive, see a solitary manatee swimming along and think, oh no! If I had looked into things more careful, I would have expected that the manatee might head out in the warmer daytime hours to forage in the connected St. Johns River. The head back to the source around sunset and hang out there until morning I understand. Extended exposure to water 60 F or cooler can kill manatees. The springs water is a steamy 72 F year round. Cool in the summer but just the ticket for wintering sea cows. The air temp had dropped over night to 38 F in a cold front and this has been a cold winter. The springs are the only thing that help the manatee to survive aside from the odd power plant cooling canal.

Later on and moving away from the source towards the St. Johns we saw congregations of manatees along the opposing bank. The sea cows are those vague gray blobby things near the surface.

One kept turning over and scratching its back on the bottom. There is a mom manatee, her calf and soon to be annoying stick in the upper right of the frame.

Manatees are air breathers as this guy demonstrates while looking around.

This mom manatee was patiently dealing with a calf poking her with a stick for quite a while. Eventually the mom took it away using her teeth and sent the stick adrift downstream. No video games for manatees.

This is what was lurking near the top left of the first photo. Anyone see Pogo?

A more recent video from 2018 showing an alligator swimming among the manatee.

So, didn't encounter over 200 manatee all bunched up but perhaps 20 or so. It was still interesting, see you guys next time!

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 04-05-2018 at 05:36 AM.
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