Manatee Viewing

Saturday December 22nd 2018

Today started cool and cloudy, but improved as the day progressed. By mid afternoon the clouds had given way to bright sunshine allowing the temperature to climb into the low sixties. It was a comfortable day without the heavy winds from the previous couple of days.

A Manatee pokes its nose up for air.

I took a run up to Apollo Beach on Tampa Bay to visit the manatees. The manatee viewing center run by the Tampa Electric Company. I tried to visit at least once while I’m in the area during the winter. The warm water discharge from the power plant keeps the manatees happy when the gulf water is below sixty eight degrees. Today the water in the basin was close to eighty. It was keeping many manatee warm.

The wind was producing just enough wave action to make it hard to see the manatee below the surface. You could see many backs of manatee above the surface belonging to animals hovering just below. Occasionally a manatee would poke its nose out of the water for air and at other times a hovering animal would dive showing its broad tail. It is impossible for me to guess how many animals were in the basin. They were spread out across a wide area and I would suspect that only a small percentage of them were visible at any one time. In addition to the manatee a few jumping fish and several brown pelicans provided entertainment.

Pelican coming in for a landing.
A pair of pelicans.

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