The winter months bring the manatees up the rivers seeking the warmth of the 72 degree spring water that gushes from the Floridan Aquifer. Powerplant thermal effluent works too, but the original manatee hot tubs are our amazing Florida springs. I think the picture above shows a mother, a yearling, and a baby.
Last week, I made it out to Manatee Springs State Park on a cold morning. At the end of the boardwalk where the warm, clear spring water meets the cooler tea-colored Suwannee River, the manatees were grazing. The baby above is in position for nursing and may be doing just that in the picture.
The water level was low which made for good viewing and I stood out on the dock for a long time just watching them graze. The lack of prop scars on these manatees is encouraging. Maybe the slow zones and public awareness programs are working.
Every once in awhile, a muzzley head would poke up out of the water for a quick breath, then it was back to work.
If you need some peace and tranquility in your life, you should find some manatees and just watch them going about their business.
Pretty much maximum mellowness.
Might be a good thing to do after a bout of Christmas shopping at the mall.
I know that today, while I am wrestling my middle schoolers for a bit of their minute attention spans, the manatees are peacefully grazing out at Manatee Springs.
Their schedule is driven by tide, water temperature, and a need to graze rather than bells and class periods.
Just the thought of that is soothing.