Monday, July 26, 2010

Manatee Surprise

It seems that every day of this vacation is filled with some new unexpected surprise. Most of them good--except for the sunscreen failure we suffered.

Today we were treated to a very rare treat.

A herd of manatees chose to spend some time sunning themselves very close to us on the beach. It was a surprise as there were about 10 manatees in the herd. They had been playing about 100 yards offshore and when spooked by a boater who came too close and probably sis not see them. We had seen the herd playing out in the water and spent a lot of time trying to decide what type of animal it was.

Fortunately, they decided to come close--about 50 feet offshore onto the rocks near us and I was vindicated when everyone else saw they were manatees--which is what I had postulated.

They are huge!

Some had fresh wounds--although from what we do not know--it could have been the barnacles on the rocks or something else.

As close as they were, we really did not want to disturb the herd as it had definitely assembled for some purpose and stayed close together until their departure when they went in many different directions.

They continued to play off shore for a long while--separately. The herd had dissolved into a separate groups of single and paired manatees playing in the warm, late-July Atlantic Ocean.

It was really very cool to see these gentle giants playing together, just offshore.

We had read an article last week that the cold weather of the past winter had killed many manatees and so seeing this herd gather together was a good reminder that nature has a way of surviving.

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