It’s not often you get this close to a shark. Above are some of the bigger things under water at MOTE Aquarium in Sarasota.
The Aquarium rehabilitates and houses permanently injured turtles, manatees and dolphins. The turtle above was missing an eye.
We don’t have crocodiles in the Tampa Bay area, at least not yet. They can be found in areas much farther south including the Everglades. I’ve never seen one out in wild. They look very comical, almost like a cartoon.
Pretty flowers in the water at aquarium.
Over Thanksgiving weekend I was being a tourist in my own town. It was easy to do since I actually had tourists with me. When my sisters were visiting we decided to take a dolphin tour out of Clearwater marina. Brett and I don’t get over to this beach area often since it’s usually busy and things like work get in the way so it was fun to walk around the marina on a cool sunny morning.
There’s a no wake zone coming out of the marina area so we went really slow until we got out into the open intercoastal water. I was snapping pictures along the way. We did finally see dolphins. More on that later.
On the way home we stopped by the Safety Harbor fishing pier and a manatee was cruising under the pier. I was able to snap the above with my phone as he went by.
Fun at the zoo in early June. The manatees are back at the zoo which is good and bad thing. The zoo has been updating their water system in the manatee hospital so any injured manatees had to go to Homosassa Springs for rehabilitation for 6 months. Now that the manatee hospital is updated they can take in injured manatees. The bad thing is that the manatees have to be here at all. It’s great that visitors can see these big guys up close and that the zoo treats them but it’s sad that so many are injured due to boat strikes or sick from red tide.
On top of the manatee pool, a few juvenile blue herons are learning how to catch their own fish. These were all probably born in the nests over the alligator exhibit next door.
Vultures were drying off in the bear exhibit. They do this in the morning to easily warm their body up. Not sure why, it was already 85 degrees at 10am. The bear eventually came over to check them out. The vultures didn’t fly off but just moved over. They didn’t seem to scared of the bear.
The last of the wild baby blue heron birds that were growing up over the alligator exhibit.
Birds hanging around the fishing pier in the summer.
A beautiful day at the beach.
A manatee was cruising by the pier in the first shot.
Someone had caught a small shark.
Out in the gulf, boats go by.
There was a manatee right in front of the fishing pier. He stayed in the same spot for a while before moving on. They usually swim past quickly the few times I’ve seen one here. As I leaned over to take a picture, he stuck his nose up for air.
Dolphins were swimming all around the pier.
The water was full of little jellyfish. I haven’t seen the water filled with jellyfish here before like this. They were floating far out at the end of the fishing pier so I don’t think they were bothering the people swimming close to shore.
Someone caught a fish.
The cormorants were diving under and getting fish. They seemed to be catching more that the fishermen on the pier.
It was a busy morning under the water around the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.
The water was very clear.
A mana “tee” heading for the bridge.
This one looks like he was covered in hairs.
Tourists swimming with the manatees.
Lots of manatees were close to the bridge in the park.
Coming up for air.
Through the glass at the underwater viewing area.
This big guy should be under water. He was warming himself up as the sun was hitting the gravel.
A few pictures from my annual winter trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Life Park. An hour north of Tampa, this park has a lot of fun animals including tons of manatees that head into the warm springs to stay warm for the winter. You can take a boat out and swim with the manatees or just walk over them on a bridge. You can get up close here without getting wet. The park is full of birds, both wild and permanent residents that are injured. More on those later.
Manatee snout coming up for air.
Stingray in the shallow water.
I think he was eating the dead fish parts that the fishermen had thrown over the pier.
Blowing his nose.
Do you think he needs a kleenex?
The water was clear enough that you could see what was floating on the bottom. I’m surprised the pelicans didn’t get this stuff when it got thrown over.
Lots of stingrays around the pier.
Pretty pelican floating around.
Taken with my phone camera, this guy swam right up to the pier.
Even more were swimming towards the pier.
Pano taken with my phone camera. This is the view from the pier.
It was a busy morning in early December at the Safety Harbor fishing pier. Lots of people out fishing and I counted 8 manatees floating around near the pier. I think that’s a record. The water was clear, the sun was out. Perfect day for a walk.