This is a copy of a screen shot from the Accuweather website
When the weather turns colder, we think how nice it would be to soak a while in a hot tub. Well, not just us humans, but the Florida Manatees were thinking the same thing this week with our almost freezing temperatures down here in Florida and because of a recent cold front in the Gulf of Mexico, the manatees were coming to warm up, we heard on the news.
We have seen manatees before, but only sporadically and one at a time in mostly murky waters, which doesn’t let you see them in their grandiose size. From our RV Park in Ocala the ride to the Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River is 75km/47miles and since today the sun was shining bright again just perfect for another excursion, we hopped into the truck to take a look.
The Three Sisters Springs is a complex of three spring areas with vents and sand boils. The water remains at a constant temperature of 72 degrees and is crystal clear. Just imagine this area looking like a swimming pool or gigantic hot tub!
And boy did they come to warm up. Several hundred manatees gathered at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River in a spectacular scene and the largest congregation in recent history.
Manatees are Florida’s state marine mammals. Some people call them sea cows, but they are relatives of the elephant. Their skin is thick and wrinkled in a grayish brown color. They are slow-moving animals that must breathe air at intervals of less than 20 minutes. They have paddle like flippers, measure up to 13 feet long and weigh as much as 1300 pounds. They spend about 50% of their day sleeping submerged and the rest grazing in shallow waters.
As per Wikipedia the manatees prefer warmer temperatures and are known to congregate in shallow waters. They frequently migrate through brackish water estuaries to freshwater springs and they cannot survive below 15C (60F)
If you haven't seen enough manatee pictures by now, watch a You Tube clip from the same area done by divers swimming with the manatees.