But it's claim to fame is Manatees. How strange it seems to me, to walk along the boardwalk, turn the bend, and suddenly see more Manatees than I can count.
They look like big rocks under the clear blue water. It's actually easy to understand why they get clipped by boat motors - a big herd like this is visible, but they don't generally travel in herds. So they blend into the scenery and they don't move fast. Some of these had white scars on their backs but the docent said the number of Manatees with scars has significantly dropped in the last 3-5 years, due to the amount of publicity and enforcement of caution laws.
There are caution laws here, of course. It is permitted to kayak or take a tour boat on the river, as long as you stay outside the buoys that mark the restricted area. Manatees don't have to stay in the restricted area, of course, but volunteers move the buoys daily if needed, to enclose the area where the Manatees want to be. So it seems to work out OK.
Manatees are adorable and appealing, but they don't actually do much. Mostly they just hang still in the water, and ever couple of minutes raise their nose for a breath. However, we did see some Manatees swim through a narrow channel, from one section of the river to another. They make surprisingly good speed when they want to.We walked all around the river boardwalk, finding different viewing sites to enjoy these aptly named Sea Cows. They don't do much, but it is so relaxing to just watch them.
Our thanks to Pete and Donna for getting here today!We did a bit of shopping in the nearby stores, but the prices were ridiculously high so we cut that short and went to lunch at Crackers Bar and Grill. That was a good choice; the calamari appetizer was excellent - how often do you find calamari that isn't over cooked? Theirs was tender and tasty.
And my grouper o'boy went well with Randy's seafood appetizer.When we finished lunch, Donna and I walked down the pier while the guys paid the bill. We found the captain of a fishing tour boat busy cleaning his guests' catch. He threw the guts into the water, so he had a rapt audience.
One juvenile caught an entire backbone. His joy turned to consternation when he couldn't figure out how to swallow it. We watched him try to get it down for almost 10 minutes. When we left, he was still struggling with it, and being followed by other pelicans who hoped he would drop it.