Manatees, Dolphins and Cranes, oh my!

Wow, what an adventure James and I had tonight! We took our kayak out for an evening cruise and nature provided excellent entertainment. First of all, the birds were active and beautiful-pelicans swooping and diving for mullet, cranes gliding from side to side... it was wonderful! (FYI, if you are familiar with the Melbourne area, we launched out of Ballard Park.) Not very far into our trip, our kayak lifted up and then suddenly dropped into a deep pocket in the water... when we regained our composure we realized that it was a MANATEE under our kayak! We hung out in the area for a few minutes and the gentle giant rubbed itself against the side of our kayak and lifted its head out of the water several times to greet us. It was a little disconcerting at first because these guys are SO BIG, but eventually I was comfortable with it hanging around.

On our way back in to the park, we were ambushed by several manatees- we know there were at least 3 and possibly four. They appeared to be mating (we think this because there was SO much thrashing going on! Also, surprisingly manatees are known for their "group sex". James actually witnessed a "manatee orgy" last year off of one of our Causeways. People were pulling off of the road to take pictures and gawk at the spectacle- pretty interesting!) Once again, one large sea cow slid under our kayak, this time in the front, leaving a water vacuum that the tip of the kayak slammed into. Again, pretty scary! James wanted to stay and enjoy the manatees, but I had seen enough. They're peaceful creatures, but 3 or 4 thrashing about is a sure recipe for a tipped kayak. Even though I know they wouldn't harm us, it would be pretty intimidating to be in the water with creatures that weigh over 1,000 pounds.

Wild dolphins graced us with their presence as we pulled back into the park, and I laughed as I watched a man cast a net for bait fish only to have the seagulls and pelicans grab them as soon as he pulled the net from the water.

Kayaking is one of mine and James' simple pleasures. Once you make the initial investment it's good cheap fun--not to mention great exercise. We bought a used top-of-the-line kayak with a rudder system for only $300! We bought it on Craigslist from a family who just wanted to get rid of it! It would have been well over $1,200 if we had bought it brand new. Kayaking is something that we really enjoy doing together and normally we bring our dog Brian along. He's a good sport who likes water and he loves being out in the open water with us. Often we explore little islands and he tags along for the adventure. It's precious! Tonight with all the manatee action James and I kept asking each other "What if Brian had been along for this?" and "How would he react to all these manatees?" It would have been even more interesting, that's for sure--but let's just say I am glad Brian stayed at home tonight!
P.S. This picture of Brian illustrates his love of the water because that bubble bath was actually intended for me... but the little guy jumped in before I could get in myself!

1 comment:

  1. How neat - sounds exciting to be in the midst of all that.



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