Baby manatee at Crystal River

I'm in Crystal River, Florida, with Don Kehoe and Carol Grant shooting manatees for two days. Today was my first real encounter with manatees, which was AWESOME. I love the things. They approach frequently and rub against you, begging to be scratched (and many of them will roll over so you can get to their bellies).

Baby manatee "Angel" plus mother and escort (both female)

There was a baby manatee born last week, which Carol photographed the morning after he was born (complete with umbilical cord and afterbirth!). He was around today with his mother and escort (female), swimming in and out of the sanctuary every 10 minutes or so. He was absolutely adorable.

Baby manatee "Angel" nurses, accompanied by female escort

As a bonus, Don and I went to Applebees for dinner because it was the only place open at 10pm. Monday night is open-mic night, and tonight featured tone-deafness so prominently that Don and I initially thought it was all a joke. I wish I had captured the look on Don's face when we walked in -- it was the perfect combination of horror and disbelief. I also wish that I had thought to record the best stuff we heard. I didn't think about recording any of it until the end of dinner.

I highly recommend avoiding Applebees on Monday nights.

Thank you, Carol, for everything! Also, thanks to Doug Ebersole and family for hosting us for dinner last night. We went to a Mexican restaurant and were served our meal by an Indian dude with a southern accent. Florida is always a rich cultural experience for me.

UPDATE: I posted a bunch of manatee photos at Flickr.