When I saw it listed on a calendar, I started to just ignore it and go one with my work. Then my mind began remembering what magnificent, docile animals these are. Finally, I laughed and said “I’m going to celebrate it”. These mammals deserve a day of their own to be remembered and respected!
I have had the relatively rare pleasure of having several contacts with these magnificent creatures. The first was while swimming in a small inlet of the Intercostal Waterway in Florida. My friends were sitting on the bank drinking beer and I was just out in the water floating on my back relaxing when I felt something give me a gentle bump from below. I stuck my head underwater, somewhat afraid of what was there. This was Florida after all and they have things like sharks, alligators and large python snakes.
Instead of some fearsome creature about to have me for a lunch snack, I came face to face with a ten-foot-long, 700-pound Manatee. It was slowly swimming about 1 foot below the surface and when it saw me it became curious. After a few moments, I gently reached out and patted his nose. He then turned and bumped me with his flipper and slowly swam around and below me. His curiosity satisfied, he then slowly dove deep and out towards the channel.
A great sense of well-being and happiness washed through me and I returned to the surface to tell my friends about the strange experience. To my surprise (and amusement), one of my friends had seen part of the encounter through the clear waters, He had alerted the others and they were now deciding how to rescue me from whatever great grey sea monster it was that had pulled me underwater.
If you don’t know about Manatees, you should Google them sometime. They are inhabitants with us in America and I have a feeling they could be great friends, if we let them.
Live Long and Prosper...