Re-post: Ellie, Claire and the manatees

1 02 2013

Originally posted Feb. 9, 2010. I just love this shot of the twins with a manatee and wanted to share again!

Michael and I just got back from Sarasota, Florida, where we had been visiting his parents for a few days. Later this week I’ll be posting some images from our various adventures, including visiting the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on Thursday, a windy walk through Historic Spanish Point on Friday, and showcasing and selling my Polaroid transfer notecards with his mother at an art show in their lovely community on Saturday.

On Sunday I spent a truly blissful day with my friend Camilla and her children—son Nolan and the twins, Ellie and Claire. After breakfast, we headed to the Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory. The twins were especially enamored with Hugh and Buffet, two manatees who were born at the Miami Seaquarium and brought to Mote in May 1996 to help teach the public about sea cows. Mote Marine Laboratory is the first facility to have been granted permission from US Fish and Wildlife to conduct basic husbandry training with captive-born manatees.

I’m not sure if the manatee below is Hugh or Buffet, but he was as drawn to the twins as they were to him (he probably thought he was seeing double!). A Mote employee told us that this one had weighed 2,000 pounds, but currently weighs 1800 pounds. The average weight of a manatee is approximately 1,000 pounds, but it can exceed 3,000 pounds. Learn more about manatees on the Mote Aquarium site here.

According to the aquarium’s website, Hugh and Buffet eat about 72 heads of lettuce a day! (Which begs the question—if all they eat is lettuce, how do they pile on all that weight? Are they going heavy on the ranch dressing, shredded cheese and croutons?)

The manatee below would grab a head of lettuce with his tiny flippers and slowly eat it as he sunk to the bottom of the tank (slow food fashion). The other manatee stayed up at the top of the tank, swimming in circles and grabbing chunks as they floated back up (drive-thru fast food style).

Interesting fact: Manatees are not aggressive and they have no social hierarchy. Humans could learn a lesson or two from them, couldn’t we?

Speaking of seeing double, the twins are identical, so it is very difficult for me to tell them apart. I learned that at this point in time, Ellie has all of her front teeth but Claire is missing a few. Unless they smiled and showed me their teeth, I kept calling them by the wrong names all day—despite my internal repetition of this refrain—Ellie Teeth, Claire No Teeth, Ellie Teeth, Claire No Teeth. I took a closeup head shot of them facing the camera and when I showed them the photo on my screen, I asked “which is which?” They both pointed to the face on the right and simultaneously said, “that’s me!” If they can’t tell each other apart, how are we supposed to?!

The Orlando Sentinel reported on manatee deaths in record numbers here. Most of the deaths have been linked to the cold snap that hit the state in early January.

It was a bit chilly that day, so you’ll notice that the twins are wearing coats. What you don’t see are their summer shoes—blue thong sandals and pink Crocs! And speaking of chilly—we left mostly mild and sunny Sarasota yesterday to return to Washington, D.C. and the remnants of the weekend’s blizzard…just in time for another possible snowstorm beginning today and not ending until tomorrow (with a predicted 10-20 inches more of the white stuff). Oh, joy.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

EllieClaireManatee





Koi pond at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

9 02 2010

On Thursday morning Michael’s father took us to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. The 9.5-acre bayfront property is best known for its living collection of more than 6,000 orchids as well as its large representation of warm tropical epiphytes. Epiphytes are plants that grow upon another plant (such as a tree) non-parasitically or on objects such as buildings or wires. They derive moisture and nutrients from the air and rain and are found in temperate zones. Epiphytes include some ferns, cacti, orchids, bromeliads, mosses, liverwort, Spanish moss, lichens and algae.

I shot the image below at the Koi Pond at Selby Gardens. I saw this statue and visualized the koi swirling around it, but the fish were right up against the edge of the pond, begging for handouts. So Michael ran off to buy fish food to help make my image happen (isn’t he the best?). He came back empty-handed since they ration out only a day’s worth of fish food for visitors to purchase. Not about to give up on my vision, I asked him to just splash water toward the statue. Bingo—the entire mass of fish started swimming in that direction. Psych! Click! (click, click, click…9 shots later…)

Wikipedia: Koi were developed from common carp in Japan in the 1820s and are a symbol of love and friendship. The carp is a large group of fish originally found in Central Europe and Asia….The ability of carp to survive and adapt to many climates and water conditions allowed the domesticated species to be propagated to many new locations including Japan. Carp as known as koi in Japan.

I especially enjoyed the art exhibit, Batiks Botanicos—Gardens, Plants and Flowers for the Soul, on display until February 23 at the Museum of Botany and the Arts in the Mansion at Selby Gardens. A native of Colombia, artist Angela Maria Isaza captures tropical and exotic plants using the batik process. Originating in the East, batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique. Isaza applies hot wax and various dyes to natural fiber cloth to create her beautiful paintings. This step-by-step process is based on the principle that wax resists the water-based dyes. After wax is applied to certain areas, the fabric is dyed in one color. The dye penetrates the unwaxed areas. This process is repeated several times. The wax is removed by ironing the cloth between newspaper pages.

Many of the paintings that are on display can be seen on her website here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ellie, Claire and the manatees

9 02 2010

Michael and I just got back from Sarasota, Florida, where we had been visiting his parents for a few days. Later this week I’ll be posting some images from our various adventures, including visiting the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on Thursday, a windy walk through Historic Spanish Point on Friday, and showcasing and selling my Polaroid transfer notecards with his mother at an art show in their lovely community on Saturday.

On Sunday I spent a truly blissful day with my friend Camilla and her children—son Nolan and the twins, Ellie and Claire. After breakfast, we headed to the Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory. The twins were especially enamored with Hugh and Buffet, two manatees who were born at the Miami Seaquarium and brought to Mote in May 1996 to help teach the public about sea cows. Mote Marine Laboratory is the first facility to have been granted permission from US Fish and Wildlife to conduct basic husbandry training with captive-born manatees.

I’m not sure if the manatee below is Hugh or Buffet, but he was as drawn to the twins as they were to him (he probably thought he was seeing double!). A Mote employee told us that this one had weighed 2,000 pounds, but currently weighs 1800 pounds. The average weight of a manatee is approximately 1,000 pounds, but it can exceed 3,000 pounds. Learn more about manatees on the Mote Aquarium site here.

According to the aquarium’s website, Hugh and Buffet eat about 72 heads of lettuce a day! (Which begs the question—if all they eat is lettuce, how do they pile on all that weight? Are they going heavy on the ranch dressing, shredded cheese and croutons?)

The manatee below would grab a head of lettuce with his tiny flippers and slowly eat it as he sunk to the bottom of the tank (slow food fashion). The other manatee stayed up at the top of the tank, swimming in circles and grabbing chunks as they floated back up (drive-thru fast food style).

Interesting fact: Manatees are not aggressive and they have no social hierarchy. Humans could learn a lesson or two from them, couldn’t we?

Speaking of seeing double, the twins are identical, so it is very difficult for me to tell them apart. I learned that at this point in time, Ellie has all of her front teeth but Claire is missing a few. Unless they smiled and showed me their teeth, I kept calling them by the wrong names all day—despite my internal repetition of this refrain—Ellie Teeth, Claire No Teeth, Ellie Teeth, Claire No Teeth. I took a closeup head shot of them facing the camera and when I showed them the photo on my screen, I asked “which is which?” They both pointed to the face on the right and simultaneously said, “that’s me!” If they can’t tell each other apart, how are we supposed to?!

The Orlando Sentinel reported on manatee deaths in record numbers here. Most of the deaths have been linked to the cold snap that hit the state in early January.

It was a bit chilly that day, so you’ll notice that the twins are wearing coats. What you don’t see are their summer shoes—blue thong sandals and pink Crocs! And speaking of chilly—we left mostly mild and sunny Sarasota yesterday to return to Washington, D.C. and the remnants of the weekend’s blizzard…just in time for another possible snowstorm beginning today and not ending until tomorrow (with a predicted 10-20 inches more of the white stuff). Oh, joy.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.