Essentially America

THE STATE MARINE MAMMAL: MANATEE

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‘Delightful’. That’s the word to describe big lumbering manatees. In winter, they head for warm water, often close to power stations. Near Palm Beach, the Florida Power & Light Company runs the Manatee Lagoon Center, where you can see and learn more about these ‘sea cows’. Before you go, check they are ‘at home’ on the website’s free Manatee Cam www. visitmanat­eelagoon.com. But if you want to swim with these docile 800lb mammals, head for Crystal River on the Gulf Coast – only there is it legal. Manatees are most active in the morning, so take the first tour at sunrise. Once in the water, you should move slowly and float a lot; looking like ‘one of the family’ increases your chance of a rendezvous with one of these gentle giants www.discovercr­ystalriver­fl.com.

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