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Let's finish this old wildlife tale

I forgot about finishing up a story I had started quite a while ago...

You can re-read it here if you want.

Towards the bottom I talked about an adventure we had with a psychotic manatee.

Anywhoo...
Remember this fact - they can weigh about 2000 pounds.

A while ago, we made the 90 minute trip over to Crystal River - which is on the Gulf side, north of Tampa a bit. Christy's folks were with us. After driving around for an extra half hour, we were finally able to track down the canoe rental place we had used once before.

By the way, they also allow you to do snorkeling with the manatees - if you're interested in that idea.


Here's a pic of our trip out:

Oh... I guess it's just a picture of me looking funky. Oh well!


Christy, the girls, and I were circling around the little island trying to see the manatees as best we could.

We had been paddling around the snorkeling area, where we got a couple of sightings, but we wanted to get up close and really personal. You know... we wanted to smell their minty-fresh, seaweed breath, as their face broke through the water's surface, and they took a huge gasp with their lungs. (Kinda like people always do when they get real close to whales.)

As you cruise around on your boat, you can kinda tell where the manatee are because you can see large swirls in the water, where their tales swish close to the surface. So, we continued around the shoreline and came up a short distance from a tell-tale swirl. We slowly, carefully approached the exact spot where we had seen a swirl.

It looks like the smooth, flat circle in the upper left portion of this photo

In a split second - the entire canoe started rocking and heaving back and forth. Imagine being an ant, riding on a peanut shell, inside of a boiling pot of water. That's kinda how the rocking and rolling felt. It was totally frightening and unsettling. It creates this massive, sucking, empty pit in the bottom of your stomach.

We realized we had snuck up on a manatee, and freaked it out. And it wasn't thrilled having us right over it's back.

It was truly scary. Just thinking about this gigantic animal, that could just flip us over and crush us like miniature, 'girly', twig people. Of course my blood pressure shot up instantaneously. And I'm pretty sure my eyeballs expanded to two-to-three times their normal size.


Christy was like...
'Um, let's get out of here... right now!'


And I - trying to downplay it, and pretend like it didn't scare me, was like...
'Uh, okay, if you really want to?'

Of course, I was thinking, like... 'let's move over there onto the shore for a minute'.

And, of course, the girls are like...
'COOL! That was TOTALLY WICKED! Let's go back in there! What are you doing? Why are you paddling away? That was the coolest thing ever! Come on, you guys, let's go back over there.'

Kaitlyn, later, told us that she wants to go in there and snorkel with them.

WOW - was it ever awesome! But me, after wetting my pants, agreed with Christy and paddled away from the spot, and asked if we could go back to shore so I could change my shorts. Not something that I'm proud to admit, but that was a very cool, and yet very frightening experience. Although I don't know if I want to try it again, it was worth feeling every heart-pounding second.

Come on - You absolutely have to give it a try with us.
I'm sure you'll love it.


Al

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