Day 2 begins with s 6:30 wake up call and a carb-heavy breakfast. I push a lot of food on the kids so they don't run out of fuel with all of the swimming they will do that day. After breakfast we try to get in our wetsuits and pack our dry bags for our first experience with the manatee.
We meet out on the deck, add defogger to our masks, check our gear, and head out on boats.
Students are always super excited at this point. Experience tells me that a few won't be comfortable and will spend a majority of the time on the boat, but I also know that many of them have never done what we are about to do.
As soon as we get to the sanctuary area, I quickly go to the front and put on my fins and mask to show students what to do. I was only in the water about a minute, when two young manatee immediately swam up and wanted attention. Both were moving me backwards and wanting to be rubbed. While one was trying to keep my arm on him by grabbing my arm with his flippers, the other found the lanyard on the back of my wetsuit and was pulling and unzipping at the same time.
Some of the students were excited, and worked to get in the water as soon as possible, while others watched from the boat deck.
Here is the mom and baby above. We swam with these two for a bit until they moved on to the sanctuary area.
The mom showed us how to take a manatee breath.
The kids and I swam into the keyhole area where swimmers are allowed, but found that no manatee were in there. Since we had great luck by the boats when we first got in we checked around the boats and found the most active young one I've ever experienced.
This baby was ALL OVER some of the adults. Ms. Ray (Mrs. Davis' mom) became fast friends with this little one. He wanted to climb into her lap and stay there. He would not let her swim away.
Eventually I got a turn, and at the risk of looking ridiculous.....
Many of the students played with him, and one student (K.G.) had a super experience with him.
Mrs. Davis got her turn as well. All too soon, the crew was ushering us back to the boat (alright, they actually were forcing the three adults back to the boat).
Then we took the super cold trip back to the hotel.
Day 2 Part 2 coming soon.'