Wednesday, January 25, 2012
In Search of Mermaids
The story goes something like this. Some sailors of old, after being on a small sailing ship for months, saw a beautiful sea creature resembling a shapely lady and named them mermaids. Probably, after a few months on a ship everything resembled a woman. More facts seem to support that they were seeing manatees.
We left the rv park around Nine AM, headed South toward Crystal River. We had a map from the park that took us to a river crossing where sightings were probable. It was a good map. They were everywhere, traveling up and down the channel between springs and the bay.
Looking up the canal, there were canoe’rs, kayaker’s, crab boats, tour boats, everything.
The manatee’s didn’t seem to mind. They just gracefully swam along looking as if they didn’t have a care in the world.
Mother and calf.
I don’t think the kayaker even knew one was near.
They were constantly going up and down the channel. Shadowy shapes breaking the surface every now and then for a breath.
There was a research team from U of F there capturing, analyzing, and tagging them. They had a spotter on the bridge and as they spotted one headed back out to the bay they would attempt a capture. Here they have one near shore and are putting out the net.
They slowly pull the net in with the manatee.
Before long, you can see it nearing shore.
The research leader, a young lady that looked way too young to be a college professor, was acting as the spotter on the bridge. She shared lots of information about the animals. She said they keep the manatee out of the water for about an hour. They measure, weigh, and tag each one. Their closest relative is the elephant, and they are primarily vegetarians. There are approximately 5000 in the Florida waters and their biggest enemy is the power boat.
We moved on and did a little shopping after leaving the bridge, then headed back to the trailer. As we arrived back at the park, the local guy was sunbathing.
Later this afternoon as I was walking Sally down the road near the rv park, I noticed a bee tree.
A hive of wild honey bees have moved into this hollow tree. These used to be common in our part of the country, but no more. Whatever pest that is decimating the bee population has been working overtime around home. Can’t remember the last time I saw a honey bee in the garden.
I only had my pocket camera, and thinking they may possibly have some killer bee genetics, I didn’t get very close. As the temps were in the eighties today, they were working overtime.
Manatees and bees, a good day. And running into the researchers made it even better.
Moving on tomorrow, so there might not be a post……….jc