Manatees at Homosassa Springs Park

My attempt at manatee art.

Manatee swimming towards me.

Upclose. You can see the scars on his back.

Mom and a baby swimming by.

One of the Manatee Watch volunteers keeping an eye on the tourists.

Not a manatee! This is Lulu, the resident hippo, getting a drink of water. She’s bigger than a manatee.
You can always see manatees at Homosassa Springs Park. But, if you go there in the winter, you can see tons of manatees. The warm water springs brings in the manatees from across the area. They were huddled together the same way they were at the electric plant in Tampa. You can also swim with the manatees just outside of the park with a tour guide but it’s just too cold to be in that water when you can see them so clear on the boardwalk. The best part is standing in a group of people who are seeing them for the first time. Their excitement and expressions are fun to watch. They are usually amazed at how big they really are. And how slow and gentle they seem. In the picture with the kayaker, all of the big dots in the upper left corner are manatees.  The team of volunteers make sure that if the manatee swims into a no-people zone that the tourists don’t follow them in there. That way the manatees can get a break if they want to be alone.
For several years now, I’ve been seeing manatees everywhere. I usually pass one or two when I’m kayaking around the channels in my neighborhood. Last summer, one went swimming right by us when we were swimming out to the sand bar at Fort Desoto. I still get so excited every time I see one.

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