Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Looking For Manatees

When I booked our current site, I knew that there were no manatees in the Little Manatee River because of a dam or something. But I knew that in our travels north next January, we would have several chances to see them at the springs we will be visiting. However, I was delighted to see a sign not far from us that said: "Manatee Viewing Center" along one of the highways we were driving down

I checked it out and found out the manatees like to gather near the warm water from the cooling outlet of the Tampa electric power plant, whenever the bay temperature drops below 68*. The power plant is where the Manatee Viewing Center is located.

On Tuesday I consulted Google to check the water temperatures. Although the web page listed Tampa Bay at 71*, we decided to drive over to the Center anyway.

We headed towards the chimneys puffing out steam.

We arrived just at the right time to catch a guide giving a short talk about manatees.

Then we went on to the viewing walkway. The guide had said there were a dozen or so manatees to be seen out in the water.

They were there, but all we could see was their huge bodies suspended just below the surface. Occasionally one would put his nose up for a breath, or dive down showing his fluke.

We looked over the side into a much shallower area, and could see one big shadow on the bottom. We waited and a large old beastie  came up for a breath of air from time to time. It may have been sleeping.

Then we saw two other shadows coming into the shallow area. One was much smaller than the other and as we watched the pair surfaced.

Both the mother and her calf were covered with barnacles. In the presentation we had listened to, we had learned that the barnacles were quite irritating, but would die and fall off when the manatee went into fresh water.

Craig said manatees are not very exciting to watch, but I think he enjoyed the beautiful day. I am looking forward to seeing them at the springs. Maybe we will get closer.

Some people like to collect T-shirts from the places they visit.  

I like socks!

What do you like to look for as a souvenir?


  1. Glad you got to see the viewing center. In a month or two, there will be HUNDREDS in that area. See you soon! :-)

  2. Between January and March when the temperatures really cool down that is when you have a great chance of seeing manatee up close and personal. If you want something really special try swimming with them. Captain Mike's gives you more bang for your buck by supplying everything you need for the experience except a towel and your change of clothes. they are in the Crystal River/Homossa Springs area.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. Sometimes tee shirts, sometimes magnets, but most often memories. :)

  4. I think any time one can see wildlife in it's natural (or semi-natural) habitat, that's worthwhile and exciting.

    You'd have a hard time souvenir hunting in SE Asia. No one wears socks here.

  5. ahhh yes i admired your socks when you were here this summer!

    I like to look for blown glass paperweights to put along the front windows in the porch. Grandtot Toys!

  6. Rick and Kathy: thank you for the suggestion. We will try to visit Captain Mike on our way out of Florida.

  7. Love the socks - but the memories are the best.


  8. I like to collect playing cards n t-shirts!!!


Leave a comment, or send an email.