Friday, February 10, 2017

          Last week I mentioned I was going to hop on a plane and head down to the good ol' sunny state of Florida, and I certainly did!  

     And I also mentioned swimming with the manatees, and while I did a lot of other cool things while I was down there, today I'll start by telling you about my new half ton friends.

     I know Spanx are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I'll admit wearing them on the outside isn't the best idea they could have come up with.  It practically takes a crowbar, a stick of butter and three linebackers to get into one of these things.  And then getting out of it is another story...
         After our half hour lecture of all of the do s and don't s we were finally off to find the home of these sweet gentle giants.  

     We were told we weren't allowed to startle them by sneaking up on them, so using our legs to swim was forbidden. this was quite exhausting, I'm not gonna lie.

     Then we found out that in most of the country it's against the law to interact with manatees, let alone touch them.  However, this was the only place in the country where it was actually legal.  Of course, it was very highly supervised, so these rare animals weren't harmed in any way.

     I had a million rules going through my head about not swimming towards them from behind and where not to touch them. You can't approach them; you have to wait for them to approach you before petting them.  By the time the first two gigantic creatures approached me I was almost paralyzed from the fear of doing something that would land me in the state pen.  And believe you me, I don't do stripes well...

     Don't let the date on this photo confuse you... it really was last week...:) tell the camera that...

     You can see by this picture that these big lugs are very friendly.  In fact, maybe too friendly at times... I felt like I should have gotten them a room...

     When they managed to pry themselves away from each other we were eventually able to get up close and personal.
     Being submerged under water, using only my arms to get around and a snorkel as the only way to breath, and knowing these things were ten times my size, I'll admit caused a bit of a panic attack at first. If you're at all claustrophobic, this would surely do it.  I would have almost rather been jumping out of that plane right now. But this was a once in a lifetime event, so I knew if I didn't take this opportunity to actually pet this guy I might live to regret it.  And I know my cuz would never let me live it down...

     Then there was the question... if I touched him was I approaching him or was he approaching me to let me touch him...??

     So I finally did it! I actually petted a Manatee!  And it was an amazing experience!  Now I can store those "bragging rights" next to my sky diving and hang gliding certificates!! One day I may actually have my bucket list crossed off.  Of course, then I'll just need to start a new one:)
     If there's one thing I've learned, it's that while there may be some things in life that aren't actually worth the effort, somethings are totally worth jumping on a plane and flying across the country for:) And I would do it a million times over!

Have a great day!!


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