During the winter, manatees can be seen in many Florida locations where the water is warm and this is especially true where there are natural springs. Since we were camped less than an hours drive from Crystal River, FL, we decided to have a look.
Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is the last unspoiled and undeveloped habitat in Kings Bay, the headwaters of the Crystal River, and is critical for protection of the West Indian Manatee. The 30 known springs in all of Kings Bay are pumping out 6-10 million gallons of constant 72 degree Fahrenheit water per day to provide essential warm water refuge for the manatees that congregate there in the winter months. This is a look upstream and downstream from the bridge we were on.
During the winter months 2-3 hundred Manatees migrate to this area and we saw ours from just a small stream from the Kings Bay Rd bridge (red arrow) as shown on this Google Earth shot.
There are some places where you can swim with them, but here I think it was out-of-the-water manatee viewing only, so there were plenty of Kayakers.
Per Wikipedia, Manatees (Sea Cows) can measure 13 feet long, weigh 1300 pounds, and live for 60 years - an adult eats about 10% of it's body weight each day. This guy appears to have lots of algae growing on his/ her back.
It was great seeing them so close and especially the mom’s with little ones.
Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.
2/10/14 event date