Perfect day on the planet. A baby manatee was born right off my dock and mamas and calves came to celebrate!
The rest of the story ... the mama was thrashing around a lot prior to my arrival and witnessed by several people. The thrashing went on for around 15 minutes. I arrived on the scene 15-30 minutes after the thrashing stopped and then saw the tiny (relatively) little calf. So, I assume the thrashing was actually a birthing.
After filming the first few videos (all of the videos are shown in the order they were shot), I had to get back to work. Then a couple of hours later, over lunch, I went back out on the dock to see if they were still around and that's when I got the rest of the footage. The baby went from being at most 30 minutes old to a couple of hours old and you can see how she had already kind of filled out and was more aware. I named her Ariel after the little mermaid. She and mama are still around and doing well. There is also a second mama and calf. You can tell the difference between the 2 sets by the markings. The second calf looks just slightly older than the first calf. Gestation is 12 months, so it's amazing that they were born so close in time with each other.
If you look closely, you will also see a dolphin fin for a brief moment in one of the segments. When the dolphin showed up, several of the larger manatees went out and kind of fenced him off from getting too close. Pretty cool.
They returned a year later, so to see the reunion search for 'Vimeo Manatees Return To Little Gasparilla Island'. Look for what could be one of the calves, now a year old, clinging to the side of mama.