Ft. Myers, FL
Just a few miles north of our park is Manatee Park, operated by Lee County Parks and Recreation. The park is located along a discharge canal filled with warm water from the nearby power plant. The canal empties into the Orange River, a tributary of the larger Caloosahatchee River as it heads to the Gulf of Mexico. The warm water attracts Manatees, who don’t like to swim in cold water (who does?) and visit the park when the Gulf dips below 68 degrees. We have been to the park before to watch Manatees from the shore but wanted to get out on the water for an up close and personal visit. Our friends Steve and MonaLiza expressed a desire to see some of these interesting mammals, so we invited them to join us as we rented kayaks for a cruise on the Orange River.
Manatees must come up for air every three to five minutes, so if you follow one long enough you’ll get a nice view of him when he sticks his nose up to breath.
As we began paddling back, something passed us looking like a submarine with it’s periscope up.
At the visitor center we had read that some Manatees that were rescued and rehabilitated were equipped with radio transmitters before being released.
The one we saw was Cheeno, easily identified with the red and white striping.
While we have seen Manatee many times from on shore, a kayak or canoe is definitely the way to go if you want an up close look at them. While we were paddling along in the eighty degree sunshine we thought about some of you poor #@&*%s suffering in the frigid temperatures up north. We hope viewing this post helps warm you a bit. Hey, we’re serious! We really feel badly for you. But better you than us ! ! !
Thanks to Steve and MonaLiza for the pictures of us.