A very rare Florida visitor adventures up to Cape Cod. This 8-foot manatee is enjoying Chatham, Massachusetts, but must get home to Florida before the cold sets in. (Photo Courtesy: Bill Pouliot)
Greetings! First, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy International Manatee Day 2016!
The celebration of International Manatee Day ties in nicely to my blog today. Why?
Well, guess what? One of my manatee buddies is recreating my exact traveling adventure from Florida all the way up to Cape Cod, Massachusetts! That’s right – there’s an 8-foot long Florida manatee enjoying Chatham, Massachusetts, located on the eastern elbow of the Cape, right now! And you can find this almost exact story in my debut children’s educational picture book titled, Kobee Manatee: Heading Home to Florida!
I navigated the perfect summertime travel from Blue Spring State Park all the way up to Cape Cod Bay in Massachusetts. Since we manatees are warm-blooded, the summertime is the best time for us to adventure away from our home in Florida’s waters. But it is extremely rare for one of us (other than myself :)) to make it as far north as Cape Cod! In general, during the warm waters of summer, we can travel as far west as Texas and as far north as North Carolina.
Wildlife experts have been documenting at least a half-dozen sightings of my manatee buddy in Cape Cod since mid-August. And because there is plenty of vegetation there, the manatee is quite happy. It was Bill Pouliot and his son, Brayden who first witnessed the Florida manatee while they were fishing on Bridge Street in Chatham, Massachusetts. “It was gi-normous,” said Bill. At first, the father and son team thought the animal was actually a seal enjoying a nice seagrass lunch. But as they took a closer look, “they concluded it was something else entirely.” Pouliot explained, “It was just sort of going down to the bottom to eat, and then coming back up, perhaps sunbathing.” Actually the manatee was surfacing not to sunbath, but to breath in air because manatees are marine mammals. Another witness saw the Florida manatee navigating the cloudy waters of Oyster Pond in Chatham.
In late August, the water temperature off of Woods Hole was a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, as I write this today on September 7th, the Woods Hole water temperature has fallen to 71.3 degrees Fahrenheit! Yikes! Us warm blooded-manatees need water temperatures of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit to survive. Anything under that and we could die of cold stress. So the Cape Cod manatee’s issue is one of time. As the Atlantic Ocean’s temperature drops, so do its chances of survival.
I truly hope my manatee buddy starts heading home to Florida since the waters are now cooling off. I wonder if it will meet a seahorse named Tess and a hermit crab named Pablo?
If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee