Looking for Manatees
The day after Christmas, we took a drive through southern Hillsborough County to Tampa Electric Company’s (TECO) Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach. The center is free to visitors and is located at TECO’s Big Bend Power Station.
The viewing center is a well-maintained facility. Of course, it wouldn’t be Florida without a little kitsch.
Manatees like warm water, so when local waters turn cool, manatees gather in the power station’s warm water discharge canal. As locals know, the day after Christmas was a very windy day here and that created a lot of turbulence on the water surface. So all we saw were some dark shapes and a lot of manatee noses.
Even though we didn’t see much, it’s encouraging to see an area where manatees are at least somewhat protected. It’s incentive to go back when the weather is more cooperative. The ideal situation is probably a calm day with overcast skies, to reduce glare from the sun.