Things have warmed up nicely. I read in the paper that there were hundreds of manatees at the Manatee Park on State Road 80, seeking the warm water that discharges from the nearby power plant. I decided to make a trip over there and try my luck at seeing some manatees. I've been there before and seen two or three. Let's just say that my luck definitely changed today.
When I left the house at 10:00, the temperature was up to 59 degrees and rising. By the time I got to Manatee Park, it was up to 63. The place was packed, with auxiliary parking in the grassy areas near the fence. I found a place to park and took my camera with me to the observation area. There were manatees all along the river, but the best spot for observing them was a shallow alcove where there were at least forty of them visible. They came in all sizes, from large bulls and cows all the way down to the babies. I really liked this shot of the baby manatee cuddling up to his mother:
Mostly, they lazed about in the shallow water, coming up every so often for air and to blow water out of their nostrils. We did see one that swam swiftly from one side of the alcove to the other as if he was late for dinner. He was the only one who showed any signs of being in a hurry, though.
I fired off a bunch of pictures, hoping that some of them would turn out well. I was surprised to find that most of them came out pretty well. Here is a nice group shot:
Many of the older manatees have scars on their hides from unfortunate meetings with boats and their propellers, as you can see on the big one in the middle of the picture above. I liked this picture of the baby manatee poking out of the water next to the two grizzled veterans:
All in all, not a bad morning. It's turning into a beautiful day.