Florida (Post 7)

The weather was kind of crummy today, so we didn’t do a whole lot of pool and ocean. Early this morning some of the others did the kayak thing and had much better luck than us with the manatees and a dolphin. Oh well. Maybe we’ll try again on Friday. Funny thing was I woke up today with horribly sore neck and shoulders – and I thought I must have slept really wrong. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that rowing a kayak for over an hour might have something to do with it!

We had lunch at JB’s Fish Camp again – I wish I brought a camera to capture the…charm of the inside. It’s got all kinds of old and dusty crap all over the walls, including a toilet seat, and some taxidermied creatures, along with the other miscellania. But the food is so good! Most of us got the clamwiches today. Afterwards, we went over to the little Bethune beach park which overlooks the inlet where we’d kayaked, looking for manatees. They normally hang out in this little inlet.

Well, not only were there a ton of manatees, but there was a dolphin fishing! It’s so fun to watch a dolphin fish – you can see something under the water moving fast, cutting through the water, and then the dolphin will leap up. Then he hangs out for a while, catching his breath, maybe coming up now and then for air. They can really move when they want to though!

There were manatees all over – especially near the edge of the water in this little hidden spot off the inlet. There must have been 6 or 7 of them just sitting there by the edge of the water, with some of their backs sticking out of the water, noses peeking up to breathe once in a while. I, of course, didn’t have my camera.

I actually ended up coming back with it since the park is only 5 minutes from the condo. A storm was moving in and the weather didn’t look great for swimming anyway. I ended up staying there for nearly 40 minutes – the manatees were still there (and the dolphin still fishing) and actually, the manatees were super active! A whole bunch of them were thrashing around, kicking their tails, coming up for air and snorting loudly, and flopping around in the water, having a good old time. It was incredible to watch! I got a ton of pics, but really, how exciting are 100 pictures of bits of tail and flipper sticking out of the water, or glimpses of their backs, or ripples from a disappeared manatee?

I did take some video, but I haven’t uploaded it anywhere yet – I think video more than still pictures best captures all the manatee moshing.

But here are the best of what I took anyway. It had really started to rain by the time I left, and I was getting eaten alive by the bugs. And it rained the rest of the afternoon, so I didn’t really swim at all today. Sadness. Plus by afternoon, the jellyfish had moved in. Not good. Bill (brother-in-law) got stung too.

This is the little inlet where they all hang out. I’d love to have that huge house right on it The little cove where the manatees were so close to shore is to the left, beyond those trees.
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They were maybe a foot or two from where I was sitting on the rocks, even though the camera makes it look further!
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There’s the dolphin, doing his thing! I never got a good pic of him out of the water. He was much closer earlier when we were on the little boardwalk and I didn’t have my camera.

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Splash!
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You can see the manatees that are close in, and some out further. The ones that were out further are the ones that were so active.
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Here’s the group of them, with the dolpin in the background to the left:
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Deep breath!
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His head is towards me, but underwater, in the mud.It was pretty shallow here – as you can see, his back is sticking out of the water!
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See?
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A closeup of his back. When manatee swim underwater, you can still tell they’re there because they make this very flat round pattern in the water. You can see it in some of the pictures I think..

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This is what most manatee pictures look like – just a nose if you’re lucky. Ripples if you’re not.
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This one is nearly out of the water!
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I think you can see his eye and whole head – instead of just his nose!
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It was so peaceful here!
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