Manatees and Dugongs

Seeking the Dugong in Marsa Alam

Many years ago, whilst learning to scuba dive, I came across an article on manatees and dugongs. I was entranced. Not only were they cute, according to the article, they loved hugging divers, and once they held on to you, they did not want to let you go. The image of this human-hugging, underwater teddy bear remained with me and I was determined that one day, I would find one and hug it.

How I Got the Shot

Florida manatees are an endangered species found in the rivers, springs and ocean around the state of Florida in the United States. By far, one of the best places to encounter these gentle giants is at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, a state park filled with crystal clear blue water, perfect for capturing imagery of this sometimes curious and playful species.

Florida Manatees: Sirenians of Crystal River

A winter’s dawn is a special time to be on Kings Bay, for as the first rays of the Florida sun appear over the horizon, they light up the soft mist on the warm waters of the bay and create an ethereal, almost mystical, feeling. Listen carefully and you will hear the gentle ripples from the swirl pools formed by the paddle-like tails of the sirenians, as they make their way towards the freshwater springs that are the source of Crystal River.