|Del Webb clubhouse greeting area|
|View from electric power plant up high|
The manatees started coming into the canal back in 1986 when the Big Bend station opened. The discharge canal is now a federally and state designated manatee sanctuary. They have a wonderful boardwalk viewing platform to see the manatees up close and personal.
The fellas said that most of the time the manatees are alone out in the Gulf, so when a BUNCH of them come into the canal, it's PARTY time, and the hormones get going! We saw lots of tangled up manatees having some kind of fun!
We saw a buoy boogeying across the water. Eldo said, "Do you see that? That buoy is moving fast! Then we saw a line attached underwater to the tail of a smaller manatee. A buoy tracker system was attached to his tail. He was recently rehabilitated from cold stress and turned back into the waters. They want to keep track of him for awhile.
At the viewing center, you can see an educational display of the role Tampa Electric plays in conservation of energy and protection of nature and the manatees....the center also has a skeleton of a manatee inside, and a hurricane simulator, and a pretty butterfly garden! And then, there's the Tidal Walk...a trip along a boardwalk out alongside the discharge canal....Visible signs accompanied by an audible narrative talk about the life in the tidal and berm areas....
Tampa Electric doesn't charge a thing for you to come see the manatees..Pick a day when the weather has been cold for a few days and the Gulf temperatures have dropped below 68 degrees. There's a cold spell (60's for you Floridians) coming in the next week, that might bring more of them into the canal. What a wonderful opportunity to learn more about them! Don't miss it! Bye for now......