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Date: 9 December 2015. Manatee Mama and Baby (calf)


Life afloat is wonderful especially this time of the year. The windows are opened as the weather is breezy and warm. While sitting here at my dinette pondering life I heard a sound I have come to recognize. A manatee was nearby.

When I looked out I spotted Vicky Finn slowly drifting by.

Look carefully where her tail has broken the surface of the water. You can see a "V" shaped piece of her tail fin is missing. Thus, her name is Vicky Finn. (If I spot them it is my prerogative to name them.)

Each manatee is different. After a time you will begin
to recognize the regulars that inhabit your world.

Vicky Finn does not swim alone... FINNEGAN is off her port beam.

That blob off her left side is a baby manatee, and a small one at that. The calf is three feet long.
Did you notice baby Finnegan in the first photograph posted? He is up there too.

This is the life I so enjoy... looking out and viewing the wild critters who share my waterfront is a pleasure. I wish you could be here seeing this for yourself too. We boaters are a fortunate lot.

Those seen in Florida are West Indian manatees.

A baby manatee is called a calf. They are fun to watch. The little ones stay close to their mamas for their first two years. When I was younger Daddy called them the gentle giants of the waterways. They eat sea grass, algae and mangrove leaves.

Because I'm just forward of the "restaurant" (mangrove trees) Finnegan and Vicky Finn should visit quite regularly.


Manatees mostly loll around eating. A full grown West Indian manatee weighs approximately 1,200 pounds. They eat 10% of their body weight each day. That is a lot of greens!

Manatees prefer warm *brackish water.

*Brackish is a combination of salt and fresh water.



Often there are LITTLE FISH swimming along with the manatees. Also please note that just a bit of the manatee's back is above the surface of the water. It is important in warm waters (over 60 degrees) that we as boaters be aware of manatees and avoid them.

Manatees swim at between three and five miles per hour. They are identified by the scars on their backs.


Just before swimming away the duo took a breath of fresh air. They are adorable.

Someday I hope to see Vicky Finn and Finnegan again.

Decades ago before it was against the law you could swim with them. Manatees are a curious lot and will look at you as much as you look at them. Then they will swim off and resume feeding. They are found in warm waters and the Caribbean. Watch for  them.

It is illegal to harm, harass or otherwise
bother manatees. Look but no touching!



If you are curious about the manatee, Smithsonian Magazine has a nice write up that may interest you.

Link: 14 Fun Facts about Manatees





Addendum: Bertie, the manatee man of Effortless Outdoors reached out. He pointed me towards a webpage on his site. I loved the pictures. If you would like more information on how you can experience manatees up close and in person, I recommend a visit to:

The 5 Best Places in the World to See & Swim with Manatees

Have you ever seen manatee in person? Was there a calf present too?
Where was it? (One of my favorite things about the St. Johns River was the manatees.)

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Categories: Boat Talk, Characters, Locations, Wild Things

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A favorite aphorism:  Manatees reside in the nicer, more populated areas. Generally the more upscale and pricey the real estate, the more manatees, requiring more signs and "no wake" zones. Pat Culotta.

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