MANATEE ENCOUNTER Tomoka State Park, Ormand Beach, Florida

Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller                Expedition Date: July 24, 2019

Rosie & I rented a double kayak from the state park and paddled down the Tomoka River. Within two minutes I spotted a manatee (Photo#3). We paddled upriver and countless channels seeing lots of beautiful birds. Ninety minutes later I saw a manatee come up for air about fifty yards upstream heading our direction. Rosie was in the bow of the kayak. A minute later I saw bubbles about ten feet in front of the kayak. I knew the manatee was going to surface for air real close to us. The manatee suddenly surfaced, splashing Rosie, bumping & slightly tipping the bow of the canoe. She yelled so loud you could have heard her in Tennessee. I couldn’t film the encounter as I had to use the paddle to balance the stern of the kayak from flipping. We have both snorkeled in the water with manatees in the past so we knew manatees are very docile, but Rosie was worried about flipping into the water with alligators nearby. The park ranger had told as that several gators were nesting down some of the channels. After the encounter we enjoyed a scenic trip back to the dock.  When we left the park we saw a family of armadillos (Photo#2) by the road.

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