Brent comes to us from the cold waters of Michigan. He is a dry suit, quarry diver with almost 25 years of diving under his belt, it is no surprise that he is our Super Specialty Instructor! Name it and chances are he can teach it and teach it well!
Brent's fascination of diving came from watching James Bond movies. Before becoming a diver, he read his open water manual twice and went through two discover scuba classes just to absorb all the information. In 1997, he took the giant stride to become a diver and has been hooked ever since.
In 2006, Brent became an instructor so he can ignite other's passion of the underwater world. What he love now about diving is sharing the scuba experience with others, whether they are new divers or well seasoned divers.
In the summer of 2001, Whiskers was welcomed to Save the Manatee Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee® program at Blue Spring State Park. Whiskers was first identified in November 1996 when he came to the park with his mother, Dana, who was also in the adoption program. During his first couple of months at the park, Dana would bring Whiskers in about every two weeks, and he stayed close by her. But soon Whiskers would take off to play up the run, and his mother would not be able to get him to leave when she was ready to go, causing her much agitation.
As he got older, Whiskers would continue to forge ahead up the run, with his mother doing her best to keep up with him. Whiskers has a playful and curious personality, and he came readily to the research canoe for “roll call” (manatee identification), even as a calf. Whiskers readily posed for his first photos, and this allowed researchers to also snap pictures of Dana when she came to see what her mischievous son was doing. Unfortunately, Dana was killed by a boat strike near Palatka in 2012.
As Whiskers matured into an adult, that playful and curious personality stayed with him. He would still swim up the run with enthusiasm and was often one of the last manatees counted, as he was busy playing. In particular, Whiskers loves hanging around the swimming area of the spring and stirring up the clay in the area. This makes the water so cloudy that no one can identify the other manatees! As he has gotten older, Whiskers seems to be settling down somewhat and is showing more maturity. In addition to his usual stomping grounds in the upper part of the run, Whiskers has a new favorite spot: the front of the observation deck. “I often find him sleeping instead of storming around and getting into whatever is happening, as he did in the past,” says Wayne Hartley, Manatee Specialist for the Club.
Wayne often refers to Whiskers as a “Tail-End Charlie,” because Whiskers has been known to arrive at Blue Spring a month or so after the season begins. If the other manatees arrive at the beginning of November, Whiskers usually shows up near the end of November or at the beginning of December. He has been seen coming and going with manatee pals Margarito, Lenny, and Lucille. Never an attendance champion, Whiskers typically makes anywhere between 10 and 12 visits to Blue Spring each winter. With a tiny notch on his tail and a narrow white skeg cut scar on his left flank, Whiskers is often overlooked at roll call. Even now, with slightly larger notches created on the left side of his tail by boat injuries, he can often be overlooked.
Outer Reef Scuba is an Official Sponsor of Whiskers. To learn more about Adoption Options, check out: Save The Manatee