We have seen some manatees since we have been here, but nothing compared to what we saw yesterday. We were just out for a dinghy cruise when we spotted what we thought was a big log floating in the water. And then it moved! We had come upon two manatees! We quickly turned off the dinghy motor and drifted toward the two as they slowly rolled around. They were about 20 feet away, but about to get much closer.
Evidentially these gentle giants were as curious about us as we we about them. Barely able to maintain our composure, we managed to pull out the phone and get some video. We used up all available space in the video memory and switched to photos alone. That's when they came right up to the dinghy. One put his flipper on the back pontoon and gave us a good looking over. The other manatee came up on the other side and rolled over. It was sooooo tempting to reach out and touch, but we were good.
Here is a link to a 48 second video. https://youtu.be/lx9gVOHS_sE
We drifted together for about 30 minutes as they swam under and around our dinghy interspersed with face-to-face visits. They were nuzzling each other and at one point we wondered if we had interrupted a sunset tryst. We hope not - can't be interrupting manatee nookie time! We were so lucky that they came to the surface so many times. They usually float just below the surface, which makes them susceptible to propeller strikes. You can see the scars on the back of one.
Roly-poly seems a good description of their gentle movements in the water. They glide clumsily if that is a good description. However you describe it, we certainly enjoyed their show.
The average male weighs between 800 and 1000 pounds and is ten feet long. These two were about nine feet long, so it was a little intimidating when they swam under the dinghy. They are herbivores, so they eat the "fuzzy stuff " growing on docks, sea walls and posts. At one point one of the manatees used his flipper to wipe off the piling we were holding on to and ate what floated away.
As Mike said as we headed back to our boat, "That was worth the price of admission."