Manatees, or sea cows as they are often called, are slow-moving mammals that carry a peculiar fascination from the sea to beach-going humans. These 1,000-pound, aquatic elephant-like creatures were believed to be a happy augury for sailors over the last few centuries. In fact, some sailors of old used to confuse manatees for mermaids -- and it would be lovely to have some of whatever they were drinking when they did that. However, today this magnificent animal faces extinction, making seeing them a still lucky omen, but in a very different way.
The Ft. Lauderdale Appearance
The recent manatee flash mob on a Fort Lauderdale beach has gone viral. Beach-goer Craig Hossack took video of some manatees frolicking on the beach, uploaded it to YouTube and the footage became an instant, overnight sensation. Onlookers described the event as "breathtaking and magical".
These Gentle giants might just be sending us a gentle reminder of why they have been such treasured omens in years past, and why we need to do our part to preserve their species. Thanks to this viral video, manatee madness (and awareness) abounds on the Florida coast.
Do you want to see some Manatees?
Should you find yourself in Florida in the near future and are in search of a manatee flash mob to call your own, local experts recommend five popular sighting spots:
Three Sisters Springs in Clear River
Blue Springs State Park in Orange City
TECO Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach
Lee County Manatee Park in Fort Meyers
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville
If none of those locales floats your proverbial boat, manatees can also be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers and in saltwater bays. Many manatee conservation spots even offer tourists and opportunity to go swimming with the beasts in a safe environment.
However, boaters in search of these gentle, shy creatures need to be careful, as manatees often suffer injury at the hands of aquatic motors. So, if your goal is finding a manatee flash mob to call your own, take care and mind your rotors.
If you want to know more about manatees, and how to protect them, visit the Save the Manatee Club website for information, links and recreational "swimming with the manatee" locations in Florida and surrounding areas.