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

January 21, 2015

Jan. 20 - Manatees

Sombrero Resort & Marina

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” — Dave Barry

There are quite a few manatees hanging around in our marina. I've seen up to three at one time and other boaters have told me they've seen as many as five. Manatees love fresh water and they are drawn to the docks by leaking faucets. We watched one the other day when Stan was filleting our fish. The water hose had a very small leak, hardly spraying out any water at all, but the large manatee stayed by the pier for a very long time...drinking in all he could get. I especially like watching the mother and calf. The small calf stays right by his mother’s side as they gracefully glide between boats, next to his mother he looks very small, although in reality he is quite large.

I shared some facts about manatees back in April when we were on the St. John's River, but I thought I share a few more since we are seeing them on a daily basis now. They’re not very pretty but they are graceful in the water and I enjoying watching them.

Manatee Facts:
Manatees rarely venture into waters below 68ยบ.
The Florida manatee is a large aquatic relative of the elephant. Also known as underwater cows.
They are grayish brown in color and have thick, wrinkled skin, which is often covered with a growth of algae.
A manatee's lungs are 2/3 the length of its body.
They eat a large variety of submerged and floating plants and consume 10-15% of their body weight in vegetation daily. 
Manatees rest from 2 to 12 hours a day either suspended near the water's surface or lying on the bottom, usually for several hours at a time.
Manatees reach sexual maturity in 3-5 years (females) and 5-7 years (males) and may live over 60 years. 
Gestation is approximately 13 months and usually one calf is born. 
Calves are born weighing between 60 and 70 pounds and measuring about 3-4 feet long. 
The calf may stay with the cow for up to 2 years. 
Male manatees (bulls) are not part of the family unit.
Adult manatees are typically 9-10 feet long and weigh around 1000 pounds.   
They can swim upside down, roll, do somersaults or move vertically in the water.

This guy was watching Stan fillet fish and drinking up the fresh water
The mother and calf that has been hanging around our dock

No comments:

Post a Comment