Man Out Paddle Boarding Suddenly Realizes He Has Chance Encounter With A Very Curious Manatee
Now and then, lucky visitors exploring Florida's waterways may witness the iconic sight of manatees peacefully grazing in the warm crystal springs of the state.
On a recent outing with friends, eco-tour guide Ned Johnson of Paddleboard Orlando had a closer and more intimate encounter with these gentle creatures.
In areas where manatees gather, regulations prohibit humans from forcing interactions with them. However, manatees themselves are free to approach us.
“They are a federally protected mammal, so we never harass, feed, water, or chase these gentle creatures,” Johnson shared. “We sit and watch passively. If they choose to investigate us, that is their doing.”
That's exactly what happened, turning the outing into a special and memorable experience.
As Johnson floated on the water, a curious manatee approached him. Having experienced playful bumps from manatees before, Johnson quickly steadied himself from the interaction.“I got down on my board, on my knees, to be ready,” Johnson said.
However, to his surprise, the manatee was eager to do something else more than just a bump.
The manatee was insistent on making his acquaintance.
Johnson said, “You are bound to get some curious manatees giving you a closer look. I have observed lots of behaviors from them over the years, but never anything like the video."
The manatee initiated a close interaction, seemingly responding to Johnson's voice as they communicated. “As I talked to him, he seemed to be responding to my voice,” he shared.
While the encounter was brief, it left a lasting impression on Johnson, who considers passively observing these gentle creatures a special gift.
The harmonious coexistence between humans and these protected mammals is a testament to the beauty of connections that can unfold in the natural world.