Allen and I visited the Manatee Education Center in Fort Pierce, FL, yesterday and learned a great deal about this endangered species of sea mammal. Signs are everywhere along the ICW indicating that this area is a manatee habitat and that mariners are required to go slowly and carefully if they see any signs of manatees. There are only 6,000 (estimated by scientists) left in the entire world, and the ones around here are West African manatees.
At the Center, even though we learned a lot about these wonderful creatures, we did not see one. Nevertheless, we purchased another new crew member –Mannie. He’s adorable, and the picture shows the rest of the animal crew celebrating his entrance to the Afterglow family.
They are gentle, slow-moving animals, and are often considered fragile in spite of their huge size and weight, one found to be up to three thousand pounds. They can be 10 feet tall. Interestingly, we learned that although they live in salt water, they must go to freshwater streams to drink. That’s why they are so prevalent around the ICW in Florida which is full of salty marsh water with outlets and inlets to freshwater streams and the salty Atlantic Ocean.
Last night we moored at a marina in Manatee Pocket, but, alas, again, we did not see a manatee.
Today, however, we did see some manatees but from a distance. We saw the waterspouts that they have (like whales) and Allen sighted one’s head and Norma sighted the circles they make in the water and a tail. All of this was from a distance, and we hope to see some up close as we go further south. It is exciting to think that we can see one of these wonderful creatures.
Even though Norma has manatee fever, she still loves to watch the many different pelicans dive into the water or skim across the sea or gather around when someone is cutting up their fish catch or just sitting around observing boaters like the one pictured here.
Other news: Finally, after a decade, our little microwave broke, and we had to throw it out. Luckily, we are at a marina tonight, and they had large garbage cans in which to dispose of it. Norma has learned to make mini cakes in the microwave and it was really disappointing when it finally gave out before she could bake the cakes. Must go looking for one sometime soon.