My friend lost her expensive sunglasses in the river so Tom and I decided to go SCUBA diving for them. We had some visibility but any movement would send black silt flying. As I was moving across the bottom I would run into blacked out areas where I could see nothing. I thought this strange and I soon realized there was something big down there with me. My only thought was big shark as I saw the water swirl around me and I was enveloped in blackness from the muck. I caught a glimpse of a brown fin and was sure the creature was going to bite me. I surfaced and kicked steadily towards the boat. I felt something strike hard against my fin that sent shivers down my spine. I clung to the boat and took off my SCUBA gear sure that I was in for an encounter. Did I mention it is shark week on the Discovery Channel? Well, when I got in the boat I saw the scoundrel that had scared the gajesus out of me. It was a giant manatee. This guy was the friendliest I have ever seen. We must have really bonded under the water because he stayed around the boat like we were best friends. He rubbed on the boat and came to my hand like a puppy. Tom and I had a good laugh as I told him of my underwater encounter and he photographed the friendly mammal. No, the glasses have not been found and I am done diving in the murk of the Sebastian River.
The manatee population is good in our area. I always see several of the friendly giants while fishing. It never gets old seeing the gentle creatures just cruising around.