"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

April 17, 2014

April 16 - Welaka, FL

Bryant's Wharf Public Dock

We decided to stay in Welaka another day. The cooler temperatures and wind today wouldn't have been much fun on Lake George. We will move on when the wind dies down. We spent a lazy day reading and surfing the web...and baking bread. I was doing a little reading about the manatees and thought I would share a few facts for those who haven't seen them before. We should see a lot more of them as we venture further up the St. John's River and into some of the springs in the area where they stay during the winter. 
This is a picture from the Internet. To give people a better idea of their size and what they look like.
  • Manatees are distant relatives of elephants. Both manatees and elephants have tough skin, bristle-like hair covering their entire body.
  • Manatees are herbivores, with a diet consisting mostly of sea grasses and freshwater vegetation.
  • Manatees only have molars, which are used to grind food. As they wear down and fall out, they are replaced with new teeth.
  • Manatees can be found in the warm waters of shallow rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal waters and have no problem moving from fresh to salt water.  
  • Well known for their gentle, slow-moving nature, manatees have also been known to body surf or barrel roll when playing.
  • Manatees communicate by squealing under water to demonstrate fear, stress or excitement.
  • Manatees might not look like mermaids to us, but many years ago sailors mistook manatees for legendary mermaids.    
  • A mother manatee will carry her baby for about 12 months before it is born and they nurse underwater. The calf will stay close to the mother for one to two years. Females generally give birth to a single calf every two to five years.
  • Manatees are about 4-4.5 feet long when they are born and average 60-70 pounds. Full-grown manatees weigh between 800 to 1,200 pounds and reach 10 feet in length. They can grow to be as large as 3,500 pounds and 13 feet in length 
  • Manatees can hold their breath for approximately 20 minutes, however they regularly breathe every few minutes. A manatee's lungs are 2/3 the length of its body.
  • When manatees swim they create oval shaped ripples referred to as footprints. Making it easy to tell where they are.
  • Manatees are curious. They appear to seek out humans, but it is not a good idea to feed them or give them water.

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