Weekly photo challenge: The sea

Give up to grace. The ocean takes care of each wave until it gets to shore.



Last winter, when we were living on our sailboat, I became quite entranced with a section of the beach on Hutchinson Island, Florida called the Bathtub Reef. The contrast of the craggy coral reef and the smooth, long-exposure waves, really captivated me.

There’s a museum in this spot that is the last remaining House of Refuge along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Called Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge, it was a life-saving station staffed by a “keeper,” who, with their families, led solitary lives in order to find, rescue, and minister to those who fell victim to Florida’s treacherous reefs and shoals. It was damaged in two recent hurricanes but has since been fully rebuilt and is well worth a visit today.

Weekly photo challenge: Unique

I don’t know why…I just thought a photo of a manatee lying on its back drinking water might be considered unique…but I guess it all depends on what your normal is, right?


Visit my blog Two Salty Dogs for more on life on a sailboat in Florida. (Just click the pic.)

I normally live in Canada so I don’t see a lot of manatees. But when I’m living on a sailboat in Florida (like now) I tend to see them every once and a while.

Manatees take up residence primarily in Florida’s coastal waters during winter. They can also be found in the warm waters of shallow rivers, bays, and estuaries. Rarely do individuals venture into waters that are below 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

I love gentle creatures like elephants. Manatees are a large aquatic relative of the elephant and are very gentle too. They are slow moving and playful and have been known to body surf and barrel roll when playing.

Manatees are grayish brown in color and have thick, wrinkled skin on which there is often a growth of algae. Their front flippers help them steer or sometimes crawl through shallow water. They also have powerful flat tails that help propel them through the water. They are herbivores and they eat marine and freshwater plants.

Manatees only breathe through their nostrils, since while they are underwater their mouths are occupied with eating! A manatee’s lungs are 2/3 the length of its body.

The leading human-caused threat to Florida manatees is collisions with watercraft, mostly powerboats. Propellers and boat hulls inflict serious or mortal wounds, and you often see manatees with a pattern of scars on their backs or tails after surviving collisions with boats. Scientists believe that unless this cause of death is curtailed, the manatee population will not recover.

There is a great effort to educate boaters about the dangers they present to manatees and I can only hope the message is getting through…These gentle giants were here first and we must learn to share the water with them.