Last week I finally got to see a real, live, wild Florida manatee — a true gentle giant that’s been endangered basically as long as Floridians have had motorboats.
While it wasn’t quite as euphoric as when I swam with whale sharks, seeing the manatee was enjoyable and worth the effort.
How it went down: The island where we stayed is only accessible by boats — no cars allowed, which is a TERRIFIC thing — and so there are a lot of docks on the lagoon side. Each morning I would wake up and wander out to our dock, hoping to see the fabled Florida manatee. And I’d wait. And wait. And wait.
One morning, after finally getting bored watching ibis (what’s the plural of ibis? ibises?) and herons muck about in the oyster beds, I started walking back to the beach house. Then I heard….
I snapped my head around and saw what looked like an alligator floating on the surface. It sunk down and disappeared. Meh. Alligators are old news for me — lizards of all sizes are common in Texas. But what was the schnoofing? Alligators don’t schnoof.
Then the schnoof sounded again, and I realized the creature was enormous.
Sea cow enormous.
After I saw him/her, I couldn’t get a certain Pixies song out of my head, especially this refrain:
“What’s that floating in the water/Old Neptune’s only daughter?”