Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If you build it. . . they will come!

We drove out to Apollo Beach today, between Bradenton and Tampa. There The Big Bend Power Station produces energy on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. One byproduct of the power plant is the discharge of clean, warm water into the reservoir off the Gulf. Here the manatees come to swim, relax, play and lounge around in the warm environs provided by the plant. The company has built viewing areas, a museum and walkways for people to stroll on to view the manatees, water birds and other wildlife that might happen into the mangroves.

Today the manatees were out in force. There were so many of them. . . hundreds I would guess. Each of those little bumps in the picture is a manatee! We have been to viewing areas before, but never have we seen so many! We saw many laying on the bottom near the shoreline, occasionally sticking a snout up for air. They must be able to stay under water for a long time. We saw what appeared to be momma manatees with their babies. Some of the babies were playful. . . rolling over on their backs and waving their flippers. How cute. We were mesmerized just watching these gentle giants. There were displays to identify specific animals that have been returning to the area year after year. Many of them have names. Some have died having been hit by boat propellers. Manatees are big and slow and swim just under the surface. They are peaceful animals and have the misfortune of often being cut by boat propellers. The ones were saw today were almost all scarred from encounters with boats. There is a webcam and you may view the manatees from that camera. http://tampaelectric.com/manatee

Tomorrow we are planning on doing more sightseeing out at the ocean. The days are warming up and the sun has been cooperating, so it should be a beautiful day.

Till next time. . .


No comments: