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I put my kayak in and was at the island in about 30 minutes. As I approached the area, I heard a loud noise about 20 yards off my port bow. It startled me and I looked to see the snout of one of the largest creatures I believe I have ever seen while kayaking. I made my way over to the area and with mask and snorkel and camera in hand, I dove in and proceeded to get my first glimpse of Florida up close. Being my first time snorkeling around manatees, I was a bit apprehensive, but swam around hoping to get a picture or two. At that very moment a manatee came up beside me and nudged my arm. I must have swallowed half the river at that moment. This "Gentle Giant" was the largest mammal I had ever seen. I didn't have time to snap a picture, just try to stay calm while choking on the untasty river that I had just swallowed. Another manatee was not far off my other side and I just stared at how beautiful these two huge creatures of the waters were. I swam around them - not touching or bothering them but just observing.
I left that day with a whole new respect for Florida, and the Manatee. Oh, sorry, never did get any pictures, I was just too caught up in the moment. Will go again next year. This time for the picture.