It was exciting yet alarming to see so many MANATEES washing up at the shoreline last night! There were more than 7 of these SEA COWS rolling around in the breaking waves …. only a few feet from my toes. My first instinct was… “Omigosh! They are hurt!”. Then…. ummmm… maybe not. Was is still mating season? I couldn’t remember! I immediately called our local US Fish and Wildlife office (I have it on speed dial!) to make sure this was not an emergency.
We saw MANATEES mating last year at the Lighthouse Beach and the year before at Blind Pass… but this looked different. So when I called USF&W and told them there were MANATEES t the shoreline, he kept telling me not to touch them or get close to them. I wanted to say “Of course! They are wild animals and I dont want to disturb them …but I want to know if they need help!”. I starting filming just about the minute I got there so I caught my whole conversation with the fella at USF&W. So it’s funny just to hear my side of the conversation.
So, instead of telling you what happened, you can watch and listen to it on video. This was so cool to see this close encounter! The video is a little long but trust me, I cut it a way shorter than I taped them. I could have stood there for hours- It was so amazing!
So here’s the UPDATE: 8-15-13…. These MANATEES were mating! They weren’t in any danger being so close to the shore the fella from Fish And Wildlife reassured me. I talked to Beth from Blue Dolphin Cottages on West Gulf Drive near this sighting. She said they swam in around 11 am just north of their property and slowly floated along the shoreline until I saw them at 8 pm. The USF&W guy said it would not be unusual if they stayed there all night as well! But Beth told me they were gone by the morning…. but had funny story for me! Since those MANATEES were on their beach the entire day… they left a few stinky gifts on the beach! Bahahhaha. She posted this photo on their Facebook page and said…
“Wonderful guests volunteered for manatee poop removal!”
How many times have you found a perfect SAND DOLLAR, a cute little crab shell or a SUNRAY VENUS still with both side attached… only to find them broken to pieces by the time you get home to show off your gems? Geez, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times I’ve done it. Fortunatley, in the last few years I miraculously grew more brain cells (thank goodness) so now I throw tubs and tubes in my tote to protect those fragile shells.
You remember all of the SAND DOLLARS I found snorkeling over the weekend? As soon as I got back to our boat, I put them in plastic tubs I’ve saved (the packaging for our butter, cottage cheese and lunch meat) to keep them from getting crushed in my bag. Recycling at its best! My favorite container is the tube from the Crystal Light packaging. I save this one for long fragile shells… like WORMIES but unfortunately I didn’t find any WORM SHELLS on our boat trip this time so I used this container keep my biggest ANGEL WING safe and sound…
Okay, so I have to show you my newest shell bag that is helping me keep my fragile shells safe until I can even get the to my containers for travel. This called a “shower tote” I found at Bed Bath and Beyond that is a rubberized mesh with tons of outside pockets. I’m loving this thing! All the non-fragiles go in the center like a regular shell bucket or bag then the fragiles get stashed in the outside pockets. The SAND DOLLARS are a perfect fit for the wider pockets and the other pockets keep small or thin shells from getting broken by the OLIVE and WHELKS being thrown on top of them. Watch out MacGyver!
In one of the smaller pockets, I threw a couple of bivalves that I found on Cayo Costa that I don’t often find on Sanibel…
This PURPLISH SEMELE is not a rare shell, but this one seemed particularly deep purple on the interior. Okay, I should have put some mineral oil on it to keep the color bright… but I didn’t. ;( I hope you can still see the deep color!
Here’s the exterior…
I also found her sister shell… the WHITE ATLANTIC SEMELE…
I’m sure both of these would be great craft shells…
I also found several CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINES on Cayo Costa. I never find these on Sanibel! These are the big sisters of the BUTTERCUP LUCINES (on top row of the next photo) which we do find on Sanibel frequently … and one of Clark’s faves.
After shelling all day, we stored all of our treasures safely in our containers then Captain Clark got behind the wheel as I was going to pull up the anchor… and looky who was giving us a great send off! A MANATEE!
Darn! I wished I still had my snorkel gear on with my camera to film this underwater but any way we get to see them is a really treat.
We always get excited when we see a MANATEE so not only did we see this one, we saw a whole group of them on the way home. It was thrilling! This time I got a very shaky video. Yes, shaky because I was so excited and because I had to react really quickly when I saw them surface. Clark always does a great job of watching out for them and idling the engine when they get close but we’ve never had them follow the boat like this before. It was crazy! And I cant help but squeal or ohhh and ahhh when they surface so … I’m apologizing now. I had to edit some of it out because my voice gets so weird and high and sqeaky… it’s embarrassing. LOL Enjoy!
PS- If you’d like to take a boat ride out to Cayo Costa for some shelling and sight seeing.. CLICK HERE
For more tips on traveling with seashells, click on the links below…
I love to travel… but more than anything, I love to come home to my beautiful island of Sanibel. Sanibel is like getting to finally sleeping in your own bed or taking your first good breathe of fresh air.
Yep. Super Sheller Clark found this beautiful ALPHABET CONE last night at the Lighthouse beach. We just couldn’t wait any longer to see our own contented beach. Clark was looking at this CONE like it was a long lost friend.
I was enjoying all the signs of a beautiful life on our islands. I picked up this gorgeous KINGS CROWN (above) then realized it was full of life and health so I was happy I scooped up so much sand with “him”. He went right on his merry way when I put him gently back where I found him. The Gulf of Mexico was so full of life! I found a live SHARK’S EYE too…
There were lots of live PEAR WHELKS too…
And live KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS. Did you notice I put the whole common name of this SAND DOLLAR? Sine we found those cutie tiny SAND DOLLARS in Thailand, I’ve been trying to figure out what type they are… when I realized that I’ve never said which ones ours are that we find here in SouthWest Florida. KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS!
And live LIGHTNING WHELKS…
In the next photo of this same LIGHTNING WHELK, I wanted show you how much lighter the other side was but do you see that little string on my left hand ? While on our trip to Thailand, we were blessed by a Monk who wrapped this string with a knot around our wrists. I was told it was called a “spiritual line” and we are to wear it until it falls off and not to cut it off. It is for good luck, good health and to remind us every day that today is special so live it that way. I immediately thought of those strings I used to tie around my finger to remind me to do something. So every day now when I look at this string on my wrist I am reminded that today is a gift.
We even saw MANATEES wallowing in the shallow water just a few feet from us. Talk about a welcome home! Oh I love this place. Check out the video…
I hope the spiritual line this Buddhist Monk blessed us with rubbed a lot of luck onto these full of life MOLLUSKS and SEA LIFE to live an even longer healthier breeding life.
PS- I’ll show lots of more photos of Thailand soon!
I felt pretty lucky to catch these MANATEES at Jensen’s Marina this past week. They are so funny to watch and now you’ll know why they call them SEA COWS. They are so slow, have big boulder-like bodies and their little faces kind of look like a cow face…..sort of. They aren’t related to the cow, but you won’t guess what animal they are related to…. The elephant! Can you believe it? Enjoy and have a giggle.
PS- Boaters need to be very careful in no-wake zones because manatees can’t get out of the way of the boat propellor quick enough, they move too slowly…hence the scars on their backs.
A manatee on Captiva