If you think of the mammals that live in the ocean you might think of the majestic whale, the playful dolphin, or maybe a fun-loving seal. The manatee is not likely to be high on your list. They aren’t going to make any tourism board’s top ten attraction list.
In this part of Florida, the Florida Manatee (a sub-species of the West Indian Manatee) is quite common. They are common enough now that there are concerns that they are over grazing some of the sea grass beds.
One thing that was a bit surprising to me about manatees is their size. They are bigger than I expected. Maybe 1200 pounds. Large and round. And slow. Very slow. The other day there was a mother and her very young calf lounging in the marina.
A couple crew members from a nearby superyacht give you a size perspective. This pose, with head under the dock out of the sun, was how they spent well over an hour. I got bored and left before they did.
Here are some shots of Junior. He was way more active than Mom. What that means is you can notice him move… sometimes.
In the picture to the left, the large barnacle and slime covered lump in the foreground is Mom. Not very high on the cuddly scale. Baby obviously hasn’t been around long enough to grow his own garden.
Most of the inland waters here have stringent speed limits for boats to help reduce
the number of collisions between boats and these large, slow moving creatures. In spite of that, they are all easily recognized as individuals based on the pattern of scars left by boat propellers on their backs.