Monday, June 1, 2009

In search of Manatee

When Bob Tidball from the Addison House on Amelia Island called and said he had some guests who'd like to do an eco-tour and see some manatee I joked that normally I couldn't gaurantee seeing manatee but maybe I'd let a few out of their cages! I met Buddy and Shannon Barnes at the City docks and we crossed the river to one of my first go-to spots for tailing Reds. The tide wasn't quite high enough for Reds in the grass, but we did see two Horseshoe Crab cruising along. We eased through the cut from Bell River to Tiger Basin, cruised Tiger Island and saw some birdlife, then crossed over to Cumberland Island and up into Beach Creek. I thought I saw a tail flap up ahead and sure enough, we found a family of three manatee munching on the grass. We slowly lowered an anchor and watched the family for 30 minutes as they had their lunch. I get as excited as my guests at seeing the manatee and I realized that I was hogging the prime picture taking position on the bow so I relinquished the spot to Buddy and Shannon! After a while we cruised further up the creek and saw a racoon cutting through the marsh grass; we all thought it was unusual to see a raccoon out in the middle of the afternoon. As we left Cumberland we eased along the south shore and found a herd of horses grazing in the marsh, then we crossed to see historic Fort Clinch to wrap up the trip. After I dropped Buddy and Shannon off, I went back to Cumberland to get the manatee back in their cages!

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