Sunday, April 21, 2013

Manatee Rescue


Ohio Key, Florida (high 83, low 70)


Yesterday was to be our last day out on the boat for this trip.  Despite both of us being completely worn out, we forced ourselves to get moving early.  We launched  at Bahia Honda marina by 8:30 am.  We needed to get there early to get a parking space. This park fills up quickly.

We headed out under the old bridge.


The water was just the way we like it.  Clear and turquoise in color.

pretty turquoise water

We decided to anchor for a little while and take a short nap! There’s nothing like napping with the sloshing water hitting the bottom of the boat and gently rocking you to sleep.

Al laid down in the bow of the boat on the big cushion on the cooler and I stretched out on the big “lounge” in behind the steering wheel.

If it hadn’t been our last day to go boating, we probably would have stayed home and rested.  We’re both completely worn out.

After naptime was over, Al fished a while with no luck, we headed over to what we think is “No Name Key.” 

Al was looking for some patches of coral reef to snorkel, but we didn’t have any luck.

The water was very clear and appears green due to the grassy bottom.

shallow water looks green because of the grassy bottom

He fished a while, caught a few fish and then we drove around for a while looking for nice spots to snorkel or fish. 

It was a lazy day.  We spent a little time reading, having lunch and then noticed some rain clouds further offshore.  .  We decided to get closer to the marina, in case we needed to get in quickly. When we heard thunder, we decided it was time to go in.  It was about 2:30 pm.

We pulled into the marina into one of the two openings. Once we tied the boat up,   I noticed a brown “rock” on the ramp right in front of the boat.  I hadn’t it before.  It was in about 3 feet of water.  Upon closer examination I noticed the “rock” was a manatee!   Oh NO!

It was right in front of our boat and right where we would have backed the trailer.  It couldn’t have been in a worse place, and I was very upset.  I knew we weren’t going to injure it, but I was worried about any other boats that would be coming in.

You would not be expecting to see a manatee there.

The picture isn’t very good because I didn’t even take one until after I got the attention of the park ranger and realized something was going to be done to help the manatee.  I was too upset.

manatee at Bahia Honda Marina

As soon as I realized what I was seeing, I flagged down a park ranger and told her.  She seemed to think it was pretty cool, but didn’t seem to concerned.  She reminded us the manatee have the right of way and we couldn’t disturb them.  I had been thinking the best thing was to somehow scare the manatee away from the boat ramps. 

We decided to pull the boat over to the other ramp so that we wouldn’t disturb her.  I personally thought she should be disturbed, and moved from this  location.  She was apparently sleeping and rarely came up for air.  I did see a little turd float up though.   :)  I controlled my urge to take a picture of that.

While Al was getting the trailer, another ranger came over.  He didn’t seem to be planning on doing anything either.  After realizing they had no plans to do anything,  mentioned maybe putting a buoy or something out to alert other boaters about the manatee.  He said he would do that, so I watched her while he went to get some help. 

A few minutes later the female ranger brought a car to block the ramp from people wanting to launch their boats.

manatee at Bahia Honda Marina

By this time a crowd was gathering.

The next step was to close the other end of the ramp off so that no one could take their boats out of the water. There was one other slot where boats could launch.

manatee at Bahia Honda Marina

In the meantime the manatee moved to slightly deeper water but appeared to still be napping.

We pulled the boat out, parked, and then walked over to the Earth Day celebration they were having at the park.  We missed most of it but did pick up some interesting literature, including a real nice brochure to help identify fish.

These are pictures from the beach at Bahia Honda.  What a beautiful state park this is.

Bahia Honda beach

I love this crooked palm tree.

Bahia Honda beach

We got home about 4:30, cleaned the boat and then Al drug me out for happy hour at the Sunset Grill.  No rest for the wicked!

No pictures of sunset there this time.  You’ll have to look at the ones I took last December.  The sun is not setting in the right place this time of year, and it sets way after happy hour is over!  It blinds you when it starts getting too low, so it’s not nearly as nice this time of year.  The best time to watch sunset there is in fall and early winter.

This time of year, you get your best sunset pictures bayside instead of ocean side, and Sunshine Key offers some beautiful sites to watch the sunset.

Last night, we walked along the bridge.

The “summer people” were out really enjoying the beach.  They are just arriving, so everyone is happy to be back here.  There were several groups of people with dogs, kids and beers, just enjoying the clear calm water. Those little spots are people.  The water is very shallow there.

Most of the summer residents are Cuban families, and you normally hear the salsa beats from the Latino music.  Last night, we heard rap music!  What?  I like the Latino music, the rap, not so much.

sunset from bridge overlooking Sunshine Key beach

This next picture is Sunshine Key from the bridge.  Sunshine Key Rv Resort takes up the entire island of Ohio Key.  It’s a lovely place to be.

sunset from bridge overlooking Sunshine Key

sunset from bridge overlooking Sunshine Key

As usual, I took way too many sunset pictures.


Sherry and I have that in common.


While we were on the bridge, Al saw a pretty big nurse shark swim under the bridge.  I took a few pictures but they didn’t turn out.  It was probably 6-7 feet long.  We think is was “Three Hole Harry.”   I told Al from now on, when we’re snorkeling, we’re not going to go visit him.  He’s grown up a lot since last year.

When we got back home, Al told me we needed to get up early and watch the sunrise.  I told him to be sure and bring my camera with him and take some nice pictures.  I was so tired, I didn’t want to even think about sunrise.

However….after a good night sleep, off we went this morning for sunrise, and yes, I went too!

Here is Sunshine key in the early morning light.

sunshine key at sunrise

It wasn’t a very pretty sunrise due to the clouds.

There were some interesting clouds ocean side though.



Today,  we will have to get the boat covered up and ready for storage.  We’ll say good bye to it for a few months.

We will start preparation for leaving tomorrow.  We sure will hate to leave our favorite place!


  1. Good thinking to prevent the manatee from harm. Even better thinking on not taking that turd picture. Some things are better left un-photographed. ;c)

    It's always tough to leave paradise, but with your boat, you always have a great reason to return. After all, Three Hole Harry might miss you...

  2. Know you folks are sad at having to leave the Keys. I know I'm exhausted from reading all you've been up to. Just know we've enjoyed tagging along while you've been in the keys. Safe travels

  3. Another interesting day even thou you were worn out.
    Rest up and get ready to return again on the future to your boat.
    Great pictures once again.

  4. Glad that you guys stepped up to the plate to help out with the manatee. I wonder if you hadn't if the rangers would have done anything at all. I guess manatees do everything in their slumber :)


  5. WoW, you both have had such a wonderful trip !!!! Thanks Karen, for all the terrific photos and the great day by day adventure ..... No wonder this spot is your paradise...... It is such a plus that you have the boat down there now ..... KEEP HAV'IN FUN !!!!!
    Safe travels ......

  6. So glad you were there to help keep the manatee safe. It's amazing the rangers were not more pro-active--especially on Earth Day!

  7. Thank you for helping that napping Manatee! That spot looks fabulous! We are sitting in Jackson Hole, WY snow coming down. Would love to be in the warmth of the keys!

  8. Glad you managed to light a fire under the powers that be so that the manatee could be protected until it left under it's own power. Love those sunset images.


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