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Manatees

Maryland
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Manatees

Is there any place in Key West where it's possible to see manatees? I have always wanted to see one in the wild...they're such amazing creatures. We'll be headed down to KW in exactly one week...yay!

arkansas
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1. Re: Manatees

The only manatee I've ever seen in Key West was in Key West Bight - not a very safe place for a manatee!

key west
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2. Re: Manatees

Well since they're not paid much, it's hard to predict when they'll show. Perhaps MikeMongo could expound on this. I've seen them at Schooner's, Harvey's Floating Restaurant, and Hurricane Joe's.

Key West, FL
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3. Re: Manatees

Been here for over five years. Seen mantees twice. They tend to come around in the winter months, so it's not likely you will see any. I have a picture of one, if that would help.

South Florida...
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4. Re: Manatees

I have seen them around the KW BIght area, off the beach at the Pier House and around Garrision Bight and the Ocean Key House Pier. They like warm water so when the waters up north begin to cool off is when they migrate a little further south so that is why most sightings are in the winter around KW.

Maryland
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5. Re: Manatees

Ah, I see. So my chances are slim. Oh well. Maybe I'll get lucky, but i won't hold my breath! I'll just have to settle for the fishies when I go snorkeling. Next Friday can't get here fast enough!

Key West, FL
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6. Re: Manatees

Crystal River in the on the north central western Florida coast is where the manatees go in the summer. I think they have a "manatee resort" there or something. Maybe a "buy one get one free for all manatees" special in the summer. Who knows.

Key West, FL
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7. Re: Manatees

Manatees congregate near warmer waters. That's the most important thing to remember. That's why we see Manatees here in the winter - our Key West water is substantially warmer. You can also spot them near power plants which expel their warm water into the ocean.

As mentioned above, there are Manatee trips on Florida's Crystal River. You can google "see manatee florida" and get a good selection.

We see them regularly in the harbors and marinas because they come in for fresh water. You see, manatees drink fresh water. (It's why they love heads of lettuce so - plenty of sweet water!) And the manatees have trained humans to "water" them from fresh water hoses. It is illegal, due to the fact manatees are frequently injured by boat props, nonetheless it is common. Mostly because manatees are smart and have us humans well-trained.

Swimming with a manatee is a trip. First off, a full size manatee is the size of a small car. Secondly, though they are strict vegetarians, they have a HUGE mouth that looks as if it might eat your hand, head or arh. Ridiculous of course, however it IS the first thing that goes through your head...

But there's more. First off, their hide or skin is rough like an elephant but soft. And best of all? They are mammals so its warm! Meaning that once you past the size and uniqueness of the creature, you see that they are docile...and love giving hugs and having their bellies rubbed! Really!

The first time I swam with a manatee, the water was stirred up, and I was in the water up to my chest. (I'm 6'5".) When out of nowhere a bog dark shapes comes up to me and nuzzles on my hand. To say that I jumped is putting it mildly - I screamed like a fire alarm and came up out of the water at least two feet!

Fortunately instead of laughing at me - that would come later - my friends shouted at me from the boat that it was a manatee! It took me a moment but I regained my composure and began softly touching it. It was so lovely! But what I didn't realize was that it also only a teenager. Which is when the full-grown manatee came up out of the murk and gave me my honestly hair-raising fright of the day. Yes, yes, manatees are passive and vegetarians and gentle and friendly. They are also the size of Hondas.

It's one thing to be cool when you know what you are in for, it's a whole other thing to have these enormous creatures pick up to visit and play with. I felt like a kid all over again. It was thrilly and unnerving all at the same time. But as soon as I got over that, something really cool happened. They just wanted to play! The two had come over and played for about twenty minutes, rolling over, letting scratch their stomachs, nuzzling my arm, carrying me around, the works. My initial surprise was replaced by utter disbelief. "These creatures like humans!" I thought.

That was years ago, and I have had plenty of opportunities - always around marinas or shore - to interact with manatees. And yes, I too water them. I scold myself for it, but if they are smart enough to train us humans, well, I'm dumb enough to water them. What I have seen is that they are remarkably fast, and when manatees want to get out the way, that great big tale of theirs just sends them in whatever direction they want to go nearly as fast as a dolphin.

Two last things. One is that Seabus - who just called me from Schooner's and is their with a gang of TAers, so as soon as I wrap this up, happy hour! -and Mrs. Seabus just had their first manatee encounter in the canal behind their house, so he should share his story, too. And the other thing is that Snooty, the 60-year old Manatee at the Parker Manatee Aquarium is live on Manatee Webcam! Check him out.

www.southfloridamuseum.org/aquarium.asp

Key West, Florida
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8. Re: Manatees

We live on a canal off of Stock Island. The canal part of our back yard so it's been pretty neat to see dolphines come in from time to time to hunt the smaller fish. (First time I saw a dolphin in the wild was amazing... A youngster is my guess. They can't see forward so they use thier echo-location to hunt. It was a full moon and I was enjoying the night's last smoke when I heard a 'snort' and realized it was a dolphin. Well this guy comes in just under the surface chasing a fish and proceeds to bump into the neighbor's boat. Too funny because he then acted like he meant to do it all the time. - Whoops, this is about Manatee...)

Mrs. Seabus called me at work a couple of weeks ago to say that she had the liv'in daylights scared out of her when a HUGE dark shadow came in under the stern of the boat and then swam off. Turns out it was a Manatee. Two weeks later, Another Manaitee shows up and she was lookinf for for water out of the hose. She just sat there and drank it up. What a sight! Unbeleivable animals and as Mike said, gentle as the day is long!

Key West, FL
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9. Re: Manatees

I got the picture of the baby manatee up on my profile. The manatee is totally naked, but TA approved it anyway.

South Florida...
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10. Re: Manatees

Awwww, what a cutie!