Chunky Little Manatee

Many people don’t know that manatees are closely related to elephants. In fact, if you look closely at a manatee’s flipper, you’ll see the remnants of nails and toes that resemble an elephant’s foot. Under an x-ray, they even look like human hands. Pretty cool.

myfwc.comManatee flipper under x-ray

Here in Brevard County, we are fortunate enough to see Florida manatees fairly often in the Indian River Lagoon (brackish water), and in nearshore coastal waters by way of going in and out of local man-made ship inlets.

They are also known as “sea cows” because they move slowly, but they are VERY powerful. I’ve gotten knocked off my paddleboard more than a few times by a manatee. Hey, they didn’t want ME on their lawn….I don’t blame ’em.

I still love manatees, and they’re a good indicator of the health of the Lagoon system, which is obviously very sick and toxic currently, heading into a state of eutrophication sadly.

So I wanted to share some of of this fun info with you, plus a pattern I made up to make your own little chunky manatee Amigurumi toy! It helps to know basic single crochet in the round for this pattern. Add a loop of heavy thread on top to turn it into an ornament for the holidays. Manatee Tree. Freakin’ cool.

Chunky Little Manatee Pattern (PDF file)

Stuffing the body of the manatee

Sewing the tail closed

Making the flippers

Fluke view

Front view

Manatees are cute, so they might get people’s attention.

I’d love to see this

Big Blue Button Amigurumi

Jellyfish are often misunderstood creatures in Florida, especially since they often hurt surfers with stings that range from annoying to scream worthy.

I’ve had my fill for a lifetime, believe me.

In actuality, many of these “jellyfish” are groups of polyps clinging together, drifting with the ocean’s currents. These type are known as Chondrophores, which include the Man O’ War, a particularly famous critter that gives humans a painful sting. However, there are other types of unique Chondrophores here in Florida that don’t pack quite the wallop.

Blue Button

Blue Buttons are part of this group, and can be found in Florida quite often. They are small (usually only 1-2 inches in diameter), but they are beautiful to look at. So, I decided to make a jumbo, huggable version out of yarn. Just because, of course.

Below I’ve shown a bit of my process in pictures for those into amigurumi:

I used three basic blues with a 3.5 mm hook

Making a circle for one side, starting to change color to make stripe

Using a half- color change technique

Top half done- I made it a bit taller

Bottom half

Two halves complete

Each tentacle is from 5-8 inches

Lots o’ tentacles

Pulling each tentacle into the half

Knotted inside and ends trimmed

Placing eyes

Stuffing and sewing shut

Top side

Surprise underneath!!

So happy together

At da beach….

With the oxygen levels dropping in the ocean as sea temperatures rise, expect to see more jellyfish (and colonies). They serve as a canary in the coal mine, if you will.

At least the signs of our stupidity will look pretty….

Keep overthinkin’ it

The Problem with Single Use Plastic

Unfortunately, I end up snagging some form of plastic trash from the water or off of the beach just about every time I go for a surf. In fact, last week, I pulled an empty bottle of bleach completely labeled in Spanish that was covered in barnacles. I wonder how far that may have travelled. If there was a note inside, the bleach ate it up.

My good friend Scrappy Yoga works with

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This is just a trashy issue, no matter what party you’re in

environmental groups and surfers trying to eliminate single use plastics from the chain. They just had a Press Conference in Santa Cruz, California, and it is one of those issues we can all get behind:

SURFERS AND ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS URGE CALIFORNIA LEADERS TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE PLASTIC POLLUTION

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I get this filled for only a buck

Being a Southern Girl, I am a rabid Diet Coke drinker, but I use a large reusable Big Gulp container with a reusable straw. Not only is it MUCH cheaper to get a refill at a convenience store, I never have to worry about throwing away straws or cups EVER. Most fast food places let me use this too, I just pay for the large drink, and fill ‘er up. There’s really no excuse, kids. And now I’ve got a place for all my Gnar stickers that no longer fit on the surf mobile. More surf cred??? Schweet.

On an old blog post, I made some surfboard art out of bits of plastic I found all over the beach,

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Shades of eternity

mostly around Cape Canaveral, even up into the Canaveral National Seashore unfortunately. Just that little project alone reminded me that just because I put that little plastic straw or fork in the wastebasket, doesn’t mean it evaporates into thin air…

 

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Or a cockroach