March 28, 2013

Three Sisters Springs, Florida

Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic

This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Magazine Features

Kayaks crowd Three Sisters Springs, where people and manatees maintain a controversial coexistence. To reach the warm water they need to survive winter, manatees often must run a gantlet of kayakers and snorkelers eager to interact with the marine mammals.

See more pictures from the the April 2013 feature story "When Push Comes to Shove."

See where Florida manatees roam »
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47 comments
Jennifer McMurray
Jennifer McMurray

I have snorkeled in this spring many times, and was there on the boardwalk when this picture was taken.  The spring is very deep, which is difficult to see in this picture, so the kayakers are not bothering the manatees at all.   The spring is very cold, most people don't stay in the water long.  

Theo Fensivatheist
Theo Fensivatheist

Chillax peeps, i don't think the folks in the Kayaks are hunting.

Nilo Baranda
Nilo Baranda

Why do some people overreact over harmless human-manatee interaction?. I'm sure these manatees would rather interact with these kayakers than with bull sharks.

Stuart Winter
Stuart Winter

Obviously, these Manatees have been nearly domesticated, as this clearly is an established public viewing / kayaking area.  I'm sure they welcome the kayakers over speed boats that often maim and kill these harmless sea cows, not to mention the inevitable free food they are given.  If they didn't like it, they would swim elsewhere just as any other disturbed animal or fish would.

Jill Dunphy-Hanns
Jill Dunphy-Hanns

...And if a manatee gets aggressive because it's tired of the invaders, it's labeled as dangerous. People are too intrusive on other species.

Paul Peragine
Paul Peragine

I don't think the kayakers are bothering the Manatees.  They're probably more scared of the other creatures they encounter in the open ocean, or possibly the helicopter from which the photo was taken.

Bridget Cameron
Bridget Cameron

Why don't the Kayakers find somewhere else to kayak?

Matt S
Matt S

Beautiful picture! I don't understand how this interaction of nature can be labeled Abusive. Intrusive, at most.

Ali Duncan
Ali Duncan

I don't see why the kayakers are so much worse than those watching from the shore. Of course the manatees may be scared, but as long as they aren't prevented from passing by, there is no real issue. Sandy Mason, why are you asking whether people have to pay, would that make it better for the manatees or are you just secretly planning your next holiday?

Ali Duncan
Ali Duncan

I like the people and I like the boats and I like the the water and I like the trees and I like the sand on the bottom and I like the colours and I like the rocks and I like the bark and I don't like the manatees as they are just funny looking seals

Sandy Mason
Sandy Mason

It looks pretty abusive , the channel looks so narrow. Can't we  keep the viewers on the walkway. I know we need to have an appreciation of wildlife in order to save it but we also need good boudaries to preserve the animals. I love that the people care enough to come and pay for the opportunity, they pay, don't they?

K. Munro
K. Munro

While my husband and I would love to kayak with these wonderful creatures....we never will as our respect for them out weighs our desire to kayak with them.

Nikolay K.
Nikolay K.

In first few second, then I saw this picture - i thought,it is a old air bombs from days WWII hat lays in the deep. But now I see - it is are manatees, right? :)

Nancy Goldsen
Nancy Goldsen

Isn’t this illegal?? These kayaks are clearly harassing the manatees.  They have already suffered many lost this season due to MAN. 

We need enforcement..these beautiful creatures have enough to deal with! 

Ebonie Drine
Ebonie Drine

What I love about this picture is that how you have all of those people in the canoe and some of them swimming.

Micaela Mustache
Micaela Mustache

I love how the water is blue and the trees are hanging on top of them.

Micaela Mustache
Micaela Mustache

 I love how the boats are different colors and the seals are swimming around them.

CoShane Rich
CoShane Rich

I like how you took this photo on top of them I think it is nices.

delbert knightman
delbert knightman

I really like how you took the picture on top of the water instead of the bottom becuase it looks more better and really really awesome of the point of the picture EXELENT work.

Kobe Johnson
Kobe Johnson

This is a really neat picture and the water is really clear.

Quintino Raiderfan
Quintino Raiderfan

I like how you got all the canoes in a crystal clear water. It is awsome how you can see the bottom of the water.

Cason Purell
Cason Purell

I like how the photographer got a shot from the sky. I like how the manatees are right by the canoes.

Shai Shai
Shai Shai

I like how people can watch, swim, and kayak over the manatees. I really love how this picture is taken above the water. This is a great picture. 

matthew s.
matthew s.

I noticed how you took the shot from the top.I like the view and the color of the water weather it is from the view or just natral

Tabitha Sage
Tabitha Sage

I love how the Manatees are just staying there while the people are looking at them. Why don't the Manatees swim away?

Isaiah The Hottie
Isaiah The Hottie

This is anamazing photo. I like the way that you can see the bottom of the river.

journee journee
journee journee

I really like how you got this picture of all the boats the water is magnificent.

Aidan Nunook
Aidan Nunook

There are so many things that I love about this photo like how it's taken from the sky and we can see all of the manatees, also I wonder if you have to pay to go in a canoe. 

Ayisha Christmas
Ayisha Christmas

I absolutely love the intense colors in this picture. I also like how the photographer took the photo from high up.

Mallory K
Mallory K

I like how the manatees are swimming around the people. I like how they took the picture up high.

corbin beast
corbin beast

I like how he got the picture above the water so that you can see the manatees swimming.  And I like how you can how many people are gathered there to see the manatees.

Justin Herobrine
Justin Herobrine

I like that the water is so clear in the picture. Nice picture!

Bodell Cougars
Bodell Cougars

I love how you can see the manatees under the water from so high up. The water is so clear!

Ramsay Nike
Ramsay Nike

I like how you got the shot up high and all the people around the manatees. Also I like how there are different colors of the canoes.

Craig Pittman
Craig Pittman

Great photo, good story. Wish National Geographic had mentioned its own crucial role in this, though, by financing and publicizing Daniel "Woodie" Hartman's unprecedented research into manatee behavior in Crystal River. His National Geographic story led to a Jacques Cousteau special that attracted all the tourists in the first place. It's all in my book, "Manatee Insanity."

Chip Berniard
Chip Berniard

Did you have to climb a tree to take this beautiful picture? 

bekir karaca
bekir karaca

good idea, sea and colurs beautyful, thanks for sharing.

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