Sara Godwin

Florida Safari: Manatees, Skimmers, and Spoonbills

In Baby Boomers, Birding, Florida, Travel on May 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I almost missed the manatees. In the process of reading the itinerary so I’d be fully prepared for my Gulf Coast safari, I noticed that my flight arrived AFTER the swim with the manatees. A few phone calls later  (plus ticket change fees), things got sorted out, and I shall be en route to snorkeling with the manatees tonight. Having scrambled to get there, I REALLY hope I’ll actually see some.  I’m wildly curious about manatees.  History has it that manatees are the original mermaids. Having seen photos of manatees, one can only conclude that the sailors who described these ‘mermaids’ were a long way from home, had been a long time at sea, and were seriously lonely.   

I wonder how close one can get … With elephant seals on the beaches of Año Nuevo, California, the rule is 20 yards away.  When I swam with fur seals and sea lions in the Galapagos, the seals themselves decided how close they were willing to get.  The sea lions cavorted about 20 feet away, and acted as though they were inviting me to play. I’m a good swimmer, but I know when I’m out of my league.  I took my delight in watching them.  The fur seals came zipping toward me on a collision course, swerving off to one side just prior to impact.  I think they were as curious about me as I was about them.  But manatees?  I don’t know yet, but I’ll let you know as soon as do.  Same goes for skimmers and roseate spoonbills.  I’ve seen both species before, but they’re so very odd-looking, I feel as if I should l look again, just to make sure they’re really a strange as I remember. Stay tuned!

 

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