“Come this way, honored Odysseus, great glory of the Achaeans, and stay your ship, so that you can listen here to our singing… Over all the generous earth we know everything that happens.” (Siren’s Song excerpt, The Odyssey by Homer, Book 12:184-196)
Float peacefully in Three Sisters Springs and you may be lucky enough to peer into the deep, dark, soulful, all-knowing eye of a real Siren, the Florida manatee. Ranging far and wide for over 50 million years, the Sirenians, which include manatees and dugongs, are now found in small isolated populations. Today we are privileged to be able to observe manatees in their natural warm water springs winter retreat, at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida.
What inspires me to slip into the clear blue water and photograph the interesting life of the manatee? Sirenians embody a sense of mystery, especially when showcased in the exquisite beauty of the freshwater springs. The light dancing through tree foliage and casting ever changing rainbow hues around the manatees underwater is a photographic experience like no other! The beauty and peaceful feeling of a time gone by is what keeps me coming back. I find it touching that manatees are extremely gentle marine mammals in a somewhat harsh and mechanized modern world. I want to lend them a hand by telling their story.
Why do I find manatees such fascinating subjects? Perhaps, like Odysseus, I too have been lured by the Siren’s Song… To see more of Carol’s work and read about her experiences, please visit her website and her blog.
All the images are of Florida manatees (Trichechus manatees latirostris) which are classified as endangered. They were all taken at Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.