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Photobeat

My day with the Manatee

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I was looking forward to trying out my new housing (used new to me) photographing the Manatee at Crystal River Florida an hour and a half from home. It has been 10 years since I was there and I usually rented a small skiff boat but I decided to go with a charter operation to get information on the changes in the area. Doing this changed the way I photographed. Last time I went there, there were 2 or 3 people in the dive shop and I saw maybe three or four boats as I photographed a single manatee for almost an hour. This past weekend there were four boat loads of people in the first hour and half. It is a major tourist attraction now. I decided to go to the "Three Sisters" springs as it has the best conditions and best spot for baby Manatee. On the way out the boat captain told me that the land around the spring was sold to a developer and condos were going in and docks. In awe you say to yourself how can this happen? There is no where like this place anywhere. The Captain blamed the State Gov. but after some digging I found the the local National Wildlife Refuge filed papers for the Federal Gov. to buy it. They couldn't pay the asking price which was above apraisil value. Typical red tape. Surveyors are on site for building as I write this. On top of this many of you know the Manatee may be labeled "threatned" instead of "endangered" This is not good: it could mean faster boating speeds, easier dock permits, more grass for fertilizer run off with construction. It all usually leads to a compromise which is never good for the Manatee as their main habitat erodes away.

 

My anger quickly faded to compassion as you spend time with these amazing creatures. The unspoken communication is so present with them. Here are just a few pics that day, overtime the O/U's will be important to me as I regretfully imagine huge condos on the overs. This post may belong in conservation but I would rather showcase my pics of the area and the Manatee situation in FL right now for all to see. I am awaiting email and phone calls to get more info regarding building plans and permits applied for.

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Well Done Stephen.....the exposure on the second one is spot on!

 

Karl

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Your story really pisses me off. It's just typical of the current situation...money talks.

Very nice images although the manatees faces are mostly in shadow, a little fill would have helped.

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Awesome Photobeat!!!

 

What quality pics! I can't do those over/unders with my current setup.

 

Were you these last weekend when Dick Long from DUI went out with Bird, from Bird's Underwater? See even Dick went out with a local operator! I think he is there this weekend also, as I heard he didn't get enough of our manatee!! :)

 

Thanks, I'll have to get you to show me a thing or two when I get better equipment!

 

Thanks Again for posting, Carol, I hope we can help such curious and docile creatures!

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Wow. I just returned from the Manatees as well. Went there yesterday. The Tide was too low so the operator couldn't take us to 3 sisters. The clarity where we went was awful compared to what you have. Nice pics.

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Great shots.

 

I really like the second one.

Sad story to hear but oh so sadly typical isn't it?

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This is my favorite Manatee pic taken in Crystal River last March. I had to attend a tradeshow in Orlando, so I went a day early and brought my wetsuit in one bag and my business suit in the other! I like this one since it shows a very intimate portrait of a diver interacting with a Manatee. It was taken at three sisters springs. I went out with Bird's underwater, who I highly recommend. I have to go to the same tradeshow this year so I am going to try to repeat last year's experience.

 

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...STeve

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