I saw down and watched him for awhile. He brought his tiny head up to breathe every couple minutes, and didn’t seem to notice me. He was ugly. He had scars all over him from boat propellers and his head was too small for his body. Definitely not a “cute” animal. At first I thought he was a balloon that the RV park had put there because they did all these strange things to keep the silt from building up in the marina.
Another RV’er came out to see what I was doing, and he said that every couple months they would see a manatee in the boat dock here. He proceeded to wash his boat off with a freshwater hose, and I thought it was odd that most of that water was going into the marina until I learned later that manatees like fresh water, not salt water, and he probably did it so the manatee would stick around.
I had stayed at the RV today to cook and clean and have a day to myself, but I spent most of the day checking on the manatee. When the kids got home, they came over and they got to see him, too. Eliza had done a report on them years ago, and we had seen a documentary that said they liked to be scratched. I thought about holding on to the post and reaching down with my foot, but I’m so glad I didn’t. Another RV’er told me that they are protected, and you aren’t allowed to touch them, feed them, or give them fresh water. (!) He said a lady in Key West hopped into the water there to get a picture with one, and she was arrested and had to pay a $10,000 fine and was still in jail (6 month term.) I couldn’t confirm that, but I did believe him when he said that he loves them, and he would have turned me in had he seen me scratch it. Oooh, it takes all kinds!
Pretty cool to see one in person, and we saw mailboxes of them all over the islands. We liked this one the best because they decorated it for the season.