Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Right now we are in Florida road-tripping  We were in Destin for a couple of days which is along the panhandle, and now we're heading south.  I'll be posting those photos at another time but because I wanted to join in Michelle's Nature Notes, I thought I would share this wonderful experience we had today.   

We recently found out about Fanning Springs State Park and were only there for a couple of hours.  I can't tell you much about the place except for an initial impression of trees laden with Spanish Moss.  When you haven't seen it before it makes those trees look like they have been all decked out in their Sunday Best. The sun was warm - something I have missed of late - and it was a balmy 72 degrees.   

When we stopped at the entrance the lady didn't sound too hopeful about us seeing any Manatees, which is why we were there in the first place.  She told us when she checked earlier that there were no Manatees in the springs.  We decided to walk down anyhow, at the same time keeping our expectations low while enjoying our surroundings, and it sure was peaceful there.  

Much to our delight we had a wonderful surprise as the first thing we saw, just underneath the surface of the water, was a Manatee.  We were joined by a small group of people, one of whom told us that they hadn't long ago seen one twice as big, and that this 'little guy' must have been not much older than a calf.

These magnificent aquatic marine animals roam the waters of southeast Florida from April to October, but then they head to places such as Fanning Springs where the water remains at a constant 70 degrees all year round.  This temperature may seem too cold for humans, but for Manatees it is warm enough for them to survive the winter.  You can read all about the park here.

Female Manatees are referred to as Sea Cows.  Babies are called Calves.  

A few interesting facts about Manatees are:

Manatees are marine mammals and breath air through their nostrils.

They belong to an order of marine mammals called the "Sirenians".  Dugongs are the other member of the family.  Stellar sea cows were also a member of this family, but they were hunted to extinction within 27 years of their discovery.

Manatees can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.

Their closest modern relative is the elephant.  Evidence of this relationship is easy to spot - both animals have three to four fingernails.

Manatees are typically pretty slow, but can swim up to 20 mph.

There are four species of manatees: the West Indian Manatee, the Florida Manatee (technically a subspecies of the West Indian species), the Amazonian Manatee and the West African Manatee.

Manatees are credited for being the basis of the mermaid legend.  If you click here you can see how that came about.

Manatees are herbivores.

They can live up to 60 years old.

They have no natural predators but, they are in peril and endangered.

I found the above facts here.

If you want to learn more about the Manatee you can go here.

It was at times very hard to make him out as the reflections on the water were powerful, but after awhile his head popped up almost as if he was staring in our direction, and he slowly made his way right next to us.  We watched as he swam under the walkway out towards the open area beyond.

There he goes and that is my reflection in the same photo.

He is out there somewhere.  Of course he could be a she. 

These beautiful marine animals are endangered.  You can read how we humans can help to protect them here.

This lady we spoke to originally was so nice and made us chuckle.  She looked at all the pillows fluffed up in the backseat, along with Mrs. Brown's blanket, smiled and called us "Weary Travelers."

Thank you  for hosting this lovely meme Michelle.
Please visit other Nature Notes lovers here.


  1. Gorgeous photos, Denise. Wow! You're leaving Virginia at a good time. My son says they're freeeezing!

    From your terrific photos I can sort of see how a lonely, bleary eyed sailor might have mistaken the manatee for a mermaid. He must have been mighty lonely though.

    You know what? I've never been to Florida. I'll look forward to your photos.

  2. floaty fun shots!

    good info too

    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    > < } } ( ° >

  3. Hi Denise. hanks for a fascinating post and great photographs.

  4. That's a great lesson for me, Denise. I had heard of sea cows but didn't know they were manatees. Aren't they big?

    Love the new header picture.

  5. Great post, Denise! I loved seeing the Manatees. And the Spanish moss is gorgeous! Lovely series of photos. Enjoy your day!

  6. Thanks for bringing us along on your trip. Glad you went to look even though you were discouraged. You educated us well on manatees.

  7. Awesome Denise...when you said Florida, I was looking for an alligator:)

  8. I am so jealous, what an amazing experience. Thanks so much for sharing. Have a good day Diane.

  9. Hope you get to see the Everglades, Denise. That was the highpoint of our trip in August. Never saw a manatee in my life, what an interesting animal. I loooove Krispy Kreme donuts, too. Unfortunately, there is only one outlet and it's on Maui near the airport. We always buy some when we are there.

  10. We see her here we see her there we see her almost everywhere...great shots of an elusive creature. Dianne

  11. what an interesting and delightful post, denise!
    gorgeous photos, as usual. thank you.


  12. I am so envious!! The one time I went to see manatees in Feb. of the year, it was a record breaking hot week and they swam out to cooler waters!!! What a lovely trip! Have lots and lots of fun.

  13. Wonderful shots Denise. I love the reflections. I hope you have fun in FL.

  14. what a wonderful experience! just a beautiful area, too! loved the reflections and greenery.

  15. Fantastic shots! I'm glad you saw the manatee. Such fascinating facts. Thank you for sharing. :)

  16. Wow!Close up shots of a manatees.

  17. Wow...neat creature. And love the hanging moss off the trees!!

  18. I have never seen Spanish moss before nor a manatee, nor in fact even heard of such a creature.
    Thank you so much for sharing such delightful photographs and teaching me something I didn't know previously.

  19. Love those Manatees. I've always wanted to see one. My favourite pic is that last one - beautiful.

  20. Great photos from that state park... We used to see the Manatees when I lived in Jacksonville.. Interesting, aren't they????

    Hope (if you are still down there) that it's not TOO cold today... It's horribly cold here.


  21. An interesting post with some nice photos.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

  22. For year my daughter had an adopted manatee from that area through Save The Manatees..loved the photos..Michelle

  23. Looks like you are traveling into a paradise!

  24. Wonderful post and photos ! I love Manatee's . Oh it looks so nice and warm there . Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

  25. Wonderful post for Nature Notes Denise! We love our sea cows --there is a Manatee Park on the Orange River just a couple of miles from where we live -- you got some great pictures --- those are hard to get under water. Welcome to Florida!

  26. Wow what a great experience. I always wondered what the relationship was between a dugong and a manatee. We have dugongs in Moreton Bay.

  27. what an interesting blog post Denise. Never seen a manatee before.

  28. What a delight to see FL when we see snow...very warming photos. And how incredible to see manatees.

  29. How wonderful that you spotted a Manatee!!!!!!

  30. How exciting for you to get to see the manatees up close! We lived in Mary Esther when our daughter was young, and my hubby scuba-dived with manatees somewhere in FL but I don't remember where. It was really a thrill for him. Great photos!

  31. Wow! I have heard about these gentle animals for a long time. I'm glad you got to see them for yourself. Love your shots.

  32. Fascinating photos! And all these beautiful reflections on the water! Absolutely amazing!