Manatee!

“Dolphin!” “Manatee!” At any moment, when you are least expecting it, someone is liable to shout the names of various aquatic creatures. Such is life lived on the water.

I had begun to think that manatees were among those mythical sea creatures like mermaids and the Loch Ness Monster. (Some conjecture that the mermaid myth derives from manatee sightings.) Although, I’ve seen signs warning of their presence everywhere and the need to proceed slowly through the water so as not to injure them, I’ve never actually seen one in the wild. One would think we might have seen one already, since, after all, we do live on the “Manatee” River. There was one day when Cindy thought she caught a glimpse of one while out sailing, but she wasn’t sure.

While heading out for our 3.67 mile morning walk, approximately 50-75 yards out from our boat, Cindy saw something in the water and shouted, “Manatee!” Sure enough, there he was – all 1000+ pounds of him/her. She slowly paddled through the shallow water, I assume in the pursuit of nourishment. It was very exciting spotting one of these creatures in the wild! We eagerly look forward to many more shouts of “Dolphin!” “Manatee!” and, in the future, “Whale!”

Here are a few pictures of our sea cow:

Manatees spend 1/2 their day sleeping.

Manatees spend 1/2 their day sleeping.

Florida manatees can live to be 60 years old.

Florida manatees can live to be 60 years old.

Manatees usually move through the water at between 3-5 miles/hour - Approximately the speed of a sailboat!

Manatees usually move through the water at between 3-5 miles/hour – Approximately the speed of a sailboat!

Manatee comes from the Pre-Columbian Caribbean word "manatí" ("breast")

Manatee comes from the Pre-Columbian Caribbean word “manatí” (“breast”)

Manatees are herbivores and eat up to 10% of their body weight daily.

Manatees are herbivores and eat up to 10% of their body weight daily.

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