If you have been following me for a while, you may recall a post that I did two years ago on manatees. We made a trip to the Manatee Viewing Center. Two years ago, we went on a relatively warm day - a mistake if you want to see a lot of manatee.
"Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach delivered reliable electricity to the community for 16 years before the commercial operation of Big Bend Unit 4 in 1986. That year, people started seeing manatees in large numbers in the power station's discharge canal, where saltwater – taken from Tampa Bay to cool Unit 4 – flowed, clean and warm, back to the bay. When Tampa Bay reached 68 degrees or colder, the mammals would seek out this new refuge. The Manatee Viewing Center was soon born. Today, Big Bend's discharge canal is a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary that provides critical protection from the cold for these unique, gentle animals."
In the cold weather, manatees are drawn to the warmed waters after it has been used to cool the Big Bend Power Station. Knowing this, (this time) we headed to the viewing station on a morning that was forecast to go no higher than 45 degrees. Perfect timing! The scene we came upon had me envisioning walking across the water on the backs of manatee! There were so many of them - everywhere - where to point the camera first!
I bet that we saw 100+ tail-flips during the time we were there - but I could not seem to capture one! You will notice white-ish scars on some of them - from boat propellers, in all likelihood. Some also had barnacle covered backs - interesting landscape.
They moved in a slow-motion ballet - it felt as though they should have musical accompaniment.
You will need the most up-to-date Java (which, sadly, my aging computer will not support). Enjoy!