Friday, February 7, 2014

Manatee trip Day 1

Our school has been offering a trip to Florida to swim with the manatee for about 14 years.  This year marked my 7th trip, and we are having a great time!

Our first day is a super long bus ride with a lunch stop at the Florida border.  We eventually get to our destination of Crystal River, Florida, drop off some of our crew members, and then head for Homosassa Wildlife Refuge.  

This is a place that takes in animals native to Florida who are needing to rehab an injury.  Some are there permanently and others are able to eventually be released. 

Our students walk around and see the various animals, but a favorite is all of the birds.  We learned from the lady feeding the birds, that most of these are actually wild birds that have learned when feeding time for the injured birds are and drop in to try to catch an easy fish.

These two girls went up and talked to the volunteer feeding the pelicans their fish, and trying to NOT throw to the herons, ibis, egrets and wood storks stalking her as well. 

We also saw a lot of reptiles...... of course.....

and a favorite, the otters.  They were running everywhere and playing.

We get to see a few captured manatee, and this is the first look at what we'll be swimming with the next day.  

We go to the  underwater viewing area and look at the snook, and other fish that are hanging out to take advantage of the warm spring water flowing in that area.

We finish up our visit with a presentation about manatees and learned a lot. Of course, we also knew a lot, and were pleased that we could answer all of her questions.  One of my students even recognized that this was a tracking device used to follow manatees released from their facility.

After our visit we headed to the hotel, tried on our wetsuits for the next few days, and had a hot dog supper.

Notice the weather?  It was pouring rain.  We walked around the wildlife center in the rain, and we ate in the rain.  After dinner we visited a souvenir shop and an ice cream parlor..... in the rain.... and you know what?  I never heard one complaint..... such wonderful kids and parents. 

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