Ocean Art 2023 - 2nd Place Marine Life Behavior

2nd Place Marine Life Behavior

Josh Raia

"Mother's Day"



Josh Raia won a 6-night dive package at Aiyanar Dive Resort in Anilao, Batangas, Philippines!


The Story: 


During the chilly winter months in northern Florida, West Indian manatees congregate in the crystal-clear natural spring waters to keep warm. Temperatures in the surrounding rivers can drop dangerously low so the aquifers act as safe havens where they can rest and raise their young. Manatee mums nurse their calves from just beneath their armpits until they are strong enough to strike out on their own. Over the years I have witnessed what wonderful parents they are, tending to every beck and call of the little ones. This tater tot must have been hungry because it spent most of the day attached to mom! I have also heard that calves hang on to hitch a ride if they are tired of swimming for the time being. The juvenile manatees are very curious, often coming right up to you as long as you are calm and find a respectable distance to patiently observe. The mother will typically swim over and scoop them up if they are getting too close to divers in the water. The springs must be a whole new world for them out there to explore, and I am so thankful for the encounter this year.


Crystal River, Florida, USA

Equipment Used: 

Camera Settings: 

  • Aperture: F8
  • Shutter Speed: 1/250
  • ISO: 100



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