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Manatee Mermaid, Florida, 1998

Photo: Manatee Mermaid

The fresh, 72°F (22°C) water of the north Florida springs is a balmy retreat for the West Indian manatees who migrate there each winter. Gentle and slow moving, manatees are said to be the mythical mermaids of sailors' imaginations.

(Text adapted from and photograph shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Unlocking the Labyrinth of North Florida Springs," March 1999, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by Wes Skiles

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