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Greetings from Capt. John, Tampa Florida December 2002 Newsletter


 
This Newsletter contains:

1) Current Dive Conditions ~ Wacky weather
2) Manatee Facts ~ Stuff you always wanted to know about the Manatee!
3) Dive Travel and Classes ~ Campout Ginnie Springs 12/20 - 12/22/2002!
4) Christmas is coming! ~ Gift Certificates! Let us quote you on your dive gear gifts this year!
5) Cool Websites ~ Bad Santa... more


**CURRENT CONDITIONS**

Forget Golfing ~ Go Gulfing! Every Wednesday with Captain John!

Weather has been wacky again here warm then cold...warm, cold, warm, cold. The Gulf temp is a chilly 60 to 65 degrees but viz has been great when the seas are down. Lots of Grouper in shallow for you fishermen. Gulf trips are available throughout the winter, weather permitting.

I will be diving the Gulf off of Clearwater every Wednesday throughout the winter so come join me.
I will be diving Crystal River every weekend and more and more manatees are showing up every day. There are over 200 in the river now.

Please check my 3 month calendar to keep up with what I am doing and plan a dive with me ~ check:
http://www.scubatampa.com/calendar.html

**MANATEE FACTS**

The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) is a large, gray-brown, aquatic mammal with a body that tapers to a flat, paddle-shaped tail. It has two flippers with 3 to 4 nails on each, and it's head and face are wrinkled, with whiskers on the snout. The manatee's closest relatives are the elephant, hyraxes, and aardvarks than any other marine mammal. Manatees are believed to have evolved from a wading plant-eating animal. The West Indian manatee is related to the West African manatee, the Amazonian manatee, the dugong and the Steller's sea cow, which was hunted to extinction in 1768, just 27 years after it was discovered in 1741. The average, adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs about 1000 pounds. They can reach up to 13 feet in length and weigh up to 3,000 pounds.

Manatees belong to the order Sirenia. The word "Sirenia" came from the word "siren." "Sirens" are legendary Greek sea beauties that lured sailor in to the sea. It is thought that old-time mermaid sightings were actually sirenians rather than mythical half women, half fish.

Manatees are a migrant species, concentrated in Florida in the winter, but can be found as far west as Louisiana and as far north as Virginia and the Carolinas in the summer months. The Manatee lives in warm, shallow rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal waters. Because manatee have an unusually low metabolic rate, they usually don't live in waters that are below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. They often live in the warm run off water of power plants. They prefer shallow waters (3 to 6 feet deep) that produce the salt and fresh water plants that they eat. During the winter months as many as 500 manatees can be found in the Crystal River area. During the summer as few as 50 remain in the river. The West Indian manatee can also be found in the coastal and inland waterways of Central America and along the northern coast of South America, although distribution in these areas may be spotty.

Manatees are gentle, slow-moving graceful swimmers. Most of their time is spent eating, resting and in travel. Manatees are completely herbivorous. They eat aquatic plants and can consume 10-15% of their body weight daily. Upon occassion they will consume shell fish. They graze for food along water bottoms and on the surface. They may rest submerged at the bottom or just below the surface, coming up to breathe on the average of every three to five minutes. Manatee bones are very dense, lacking marrow. Because of this, manatees are negatively buoyant and can lie on the sea bottom without exerting any energy to stay down. The less energy they use, the longer manatees can remain submerged between breaths making feeding more efficient. Manatees have the ability to control the volume of air their lungs, enabling them to rise to the surface, take a breath, and return to the bottom with no noticeable effort.

The reproductive rate for the manatee is slow. Female manatees are not sexually mature till they are about four years old, and males, nine years old. One calf is born every 2-3 years, (birth of twins may occur but is vary rare). The gestation period is about 13 months. Manatees breed year round in Florida, however most of the calves are born in the spring and summer months. At birth the calf measures about 4 to 4.5ft and weighs about 60-70 pounds. A newborn calf can swim at the surface of the water by itself. Several hours after birth the calf begins to nurse from its mother's teat (located at the base of mothers front flippers). Calves nurse under water. A few weeks after being born the infant begins to nibble on plants. Mothers nurse their young for a long period and a calf may remain dependent on its mother for up to two years, it stays with the mother to learn survival, travel routes and warm water refuges.

Manatees have no natural enemies, and it is believed they can live 60 years or more. Most human related manatee mortalities occur from collisions with watercraft. Other causes of human related mortalities include being crushed and/or drowned in canal locks and flood control structures; ingestion of fish hooks, litter and monofilament line; entanglement in crab trap lines; and vandalism. Ultimately, however, loss of habitat is the most serious threat facing the manatee today. There are approximately 3700 West Indian manatees left in the United States.

In 2001 Florida recorded 325 manatee deaths. This year 281 have perished. Scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Florida Marine Research Institute suspect that 27 manatee carcasses brought in from four southwest counties between March 15 and April 16 2002 died as a result of exposure to red tide.

The manatee is protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Specials Act of 1973, which make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture or kill any marine mammal. The manatee is also protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, which states: "It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass or disturb any manatee." Anyone convicted of violating Florida's state law faces a possible maximum fine of $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 60 days. Conviction on the federal level is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and/or one year in prison.

Manatee trips are available throughout the year. See
http://www.scubatampa.com/calendar.html and http://www.scubatampa.com/manatee.html


**DIVE CALENDAR**

Campout Ginnie Springs 12/20 - 12/22/2002 ~ Come campout with Captain John. Ginnie Springs is Florida's most beautiful spring system. We will be camping, canoeing and diving the springs on Friday 12/20 till Sunday 12/22/2002. Rates are $16 per person per day to camp, $27.00 per person per day to dive. Canoes, kayaks and tubes are availble for rent at the springs. Warm water showers and electrical hookups also available. We'll be teaching Advanced, Nitrox and Cavern. Come join us for some real fun. Sign up now, we have to reserve campsites! Info on Ginnie Springs at: http://www.ginniespringsoutdoors.com .

Information on Dive Classes, Dive Trips and related information can be found at my new page at: http://www.scubatampa.com/calendar.html This calendar is up-dated daily so bookmark it an visit often to stay up-to-date.

Open Water Class Schedules for December 2002 to February 2003 Open water classes: December 13th and 14th and December 28th and 29th. Other scheduled classes/events/availability at: http://www.scubatampa.com/calendar.html

Manatee Snorkel/Dive  $30.00/$50.00 per person, one tank dive and snorkeling with the Manatees. Manatee Dive info at http://www.scubatampa.com/manatee.html


**CHRISTMAS GEAR **

Give the gift of Diving this year, Gift Certificates Available!

Let us review your Christmas Wish List. We handle Zeagle, Dacor, SeaQuest, US Divers, AB Biller, JBL and many others... we will meet or beat any advertised price on new warranted products, plus we offer a one year in-shop warranty on used gear and customer satisfaction guarantee.


**COOL WEB SITES**

Wacky Web ~ Check out the madness here. Angry Kittens is CRAZY!!!!: http://www.rathergood.com/

Junk Mail ~ Tips on controlling spam......... http://www.junkbusters.com/harvesting.html

Bad Santa
~ Visit this site and collect your free gift from Coca Cola: http://www.scubatampa.com/santa.html

PayPal -- Send money via check or credit cards on-line to any e-mail address.  It's easy, free and .  I am a member. Join now and get $5.00. Contact:  PayPal ~ Send and Receive Money On-line:
http:///www.paypal.com/refer/pal=john.r3%40ix.netcom.com

Previous Newsletters
~ Last month's newsletter go to: http://www.scubatampa.com/nl.11.02.html .


Tanks, BCing you!

SUNSATION DIVE CHARTERS

Captain John L. Russell 3, Tampa, Florida
PADI MSDT 40957, MDEA MI 2098
813-966-6525 (Office)

Please visit my Florida Scuba Diving Website, Bookmark it and Visit
Often!
http://www.scubatampa.com

Have a Scuba Website?  Join the Promote Scuba Webring!
http://www.scubatampa.com/promote.html

PayPal ~ Send and Receive Money On-line:
https://www.paypal.com/refer/pal=john.r3%40ix.netcom.com

You are receiving this newsletter because you have signed my guestbook, written to me for information or requested to be on our mailing list.  I respect your privacy.  If you wish to be removed from my mailing lists send an e-mail with remove as the subject.  If you want previous copies of prior month's newsletters send me an e-mail with previous as the subject.

[ ENTRY ] [ CALL ME ] [ DIVE CLASSES ] [ DIVE CALENDAR ] [ DIVE GEAR ] [ DIVE LINKS ] [ DIVE TRAVEL ]
[
E-MAIL ME ] [ FEEDBACK ] [ FLORIDA DIVING ] [ FAQs GULF DIVING ] [ FAQs MANATEE SPRING DIVES ]
[
FAQs 2-3 DAY DIVE COURSE ] [ FORWARD ] [ FUN STUFF ] [ MANATEE SNORKELING/DIVING ] [ MENU ]
[
NEWSLETTER] [ PHOTOS 1 ] [ PHOTOS 2 ] [ REFER ME ] [ MY RESUME ] [ SEARCH THIS SITE - THE WEB ]



Copyright Scubatampa.com, The Captain Formerly Known as "Handsome" John L. Russell 3 1998-2002, all rights reserved. Last revised December 5th, 2002.