For several, Florida is considered a paradise. Many also call the state home. But it’s not just humans that thrive in this beautiful state. Hundreds of land and ocean creatures flourish in the area. Since Florida is a peninsula, residents and guests will commonly connect with the ocean life. One popular sea creature: the dolphin.
There are several species of dolphin that pass by or live in Florida’s coastal waters. But which species will you most commonly see? Let’s find out!
This species is perhaps the most popular worldwide. Seen in many movies and aquariums, the bottlenose is the most common dolphin in Florida’s water, appearing as south as the Florida Keys. The blue-gray dolphin has a robust body that is about six to twelve feet long. Its name “bottlenose” originates from its short and stubby beak. Quite frequently, you’ll find them riding the waves caused by boats or jumping out the water for fun.
These dolphins have a beautiful hourglass shaped pattern of muted colors. They come in two different sub-species, long-beaked and short-beaked, and so have a slightly different appearance between the two species. The common dolphin may not be easily spotted near the shore as they hunt in deeper waters. However, offshore fishing enthusiasts and deep-sea fishermen may frequently encounter the common dolphin as the species is known to take advantage of human fishing to hunt, catching any fish that escape fishermen’s nets or any discarded fish.
Atlantic Spotted Dolphin
This stealthy dolphin has a dark gray upper body that fades out to a medium to light gray. You’ll also find on the dolphin – you guessed it – spots. As the dolphin ages, it develops white spots near its chunky beak. The more spots, the older the dolphin. Think of it as gray hairs! The females are surprisingly larger than the males, however, the average size is around 7 feet long. Viewers will typically find them in groups from five to fifty, and chatting actively on the surface as they are very vocal.
Florida’s warm waters allow us to encounter the dolphin all year long. By booking a guided tour, experienced professionals can help you understand Florida’s sea creatures and how to interact with them in a fun and safe manner. As you tour with the Manatee Cruise team, we’ll help you see these fun and energetic creatures the best way possible, live and up close in their natural environment. Contact The Manatee Scenic Tour Boat today to book your ocean tour!
Florida has a very rich history. The state itself was the beginning of the European discovery of the land that is now called the United States. Much closer to home, the Ponce de Leon Inlet also is part of the history books, where wars and storms ravaged the land, yet gave visitors hope and opportunity. Through its up and downs, the area has become one of the most memorable land sites of Florida. Here’s why!
1. The area was home to the Timucua natives
They lived in South Georgia and North Florida. It’s believed they were the first to see the Spanish explorers arrive to Florida. As war and disease struck the population, the numbers of the Timucua people decreased drastically. Any survivors are thought to have joined the Seminole tribe.
2. The inlet had a different name
The area used to be called Mosquito Inlet for its abundance of mosquitos. It wasn’t until 1927, that local residents decided to change the name to Ponce de Leon Inlet.
3. The first “lighthouse” was a bonfire
The Ponce de Leon Inlet has one of Florida’s oldest lighthouses. However, the first lighthouse started in 1774, where the British colonizers would lite bonfires on the sand dunes to help ships navigate through the bay.
4. An official lighthouse wasn’t built until 1835
It was about 45 feet tall. However, its builder, Winslow Lewis, was infamous for having bad building practices. His unskilled practices became apparent in 1835 when a hurricane destroyed the lighthouse.
5. The Ponce de Leon lighthouse is the tallest in Florida
The most current lighthouse stands proud, strong and tall now. It’s also the 3rd tallest in the United States.
6. The lighthouse saved lives
A famous life it saved was author and journalist, Stephen Crane. In 1897, Crane was shipwrecked far off the New Smyrna coast after returning from a job covering the Cuban Revolution. Crane, along with other men, spotted the small light from the distant lighthouse and used it to navigate to shore.
7. The area was part of major American wars
During the revolution, Confederates would use the inlet to ship equipment and weapons to the rest of the state, until it was taken over by the Union.
The lighthouse was also used during World War II, serving as barracks for the Coast Guard. The guardsmen would stand to watch for enemy submarines.
These are just a few impacting moments that the Ponce de Leon inlet experienced in its historical timeline. However, there are many more. We encourage you to visit the area, especially the lighthouse to learn more about it! Also, get to know the inlet’s local wildlife, where you can encounter local birds, dolphins, manatees and much more!
Feel free to give us a call and ask us any questions. We’re here to help!