Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring Break 2014, Part 2

 We stayed in a wonderful place in Homosassa, Florida. We found this little house, right on a canal that branched off of the Crystal River Springs. It was beautiful. We had two kayaks that we were able to use (and didn't dump out of!) and we rowed several times to a location not far away where the manatees were. They WERE SO BEAUTIFUL! I've wanted to do this for 20 years, and finally, finally, I got to do it. And what is even better is that both of my kids, especially BayLea, LOVE the manatees too.

 The manatees are in this little clearing. When we first floated into this area, we were just rowing along, looked down and there was this HUGE creature swimming below us. Kind of freaked me out for a minute, before I calmed down and remembered that these huge, gentle creatures were what we were there to see.
 These are the pictures that Jery took with the underwater camera when we swam with the manatees the next day. They definitely are curious, beautiful creatures. Some of them enjoyed the interactions with the human race! Many of them came right up to us, and allowed us to rub them. One of the ladies on our boat said that she got a huge hug from a baby manatee. Another one got pulled along by her braid...apparently manatees love ropes.

 Here is a manatee playing with the rope on our boat.

 The super clear waters of Three Sisters Springs. We didn't swim here, but the boat captain took us by here.
 Some things we learned about manatees:
1. They are related to the elephant. They have toe nails on their flippers and their nose is prehensile like the elephants nose.
2. The 'tail' is called a fluke, and the narrow part of the body between their main body and their fluke is called a puduncle. I'm not sure how this is spelled, but I know it's called that. The whale and the dolphin's are called the same thing.
3. They are friendly, harmless creatures whose main enemy are the humans. Many many are killed and injured every year by boats. Every manatee we saw (with the exception of one) had many scars on their backs.

 These photos I took with my iPhone using an underwater case that I rented and then later purchased. It really took pretty good pictures and video.

 This is BayLea giving the manatee a belly rub. We could only touch the manatees if they came to us. There were large roped off areas that were their sanctuaries. If they crossed the rope, we were to immediately stop interactions. We were also NOT allowed to cross the ropes. Anyone who did so would face huge fines.
They are so cute. Love love love them!

The last morning before we had to leave; a quick family photo on our dock.

Here are the videos I took of the manatees. There are several, but they are so cool! Please watch.

The manatee below was the only one that we saw that was boat scars at all. AND it LOVED BayLea! She got to rub the manatee and the manatee kept coming back for more. It hugged BayLea's hand with it's flippers.

I think this video is a very short video of a baby manatee coming to it's mother to nurse. The mother manatee nurses her baby from a place behind her flipper.

OKay, this one isn't real great, I obviously didn't know the camera was recording, but it shows Jery, Breccan and BayLea for a few minutes, plus a manatee below them.

This one is short, but so cute!

This one is cute too...

Okay...I'm done. We had so much fun with the manatees, and this will be something we do again. We all loved it, and felt the magic of seeing them so close up!

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