For a few years now, both Angela and I have thought it would be really cool to swim with manatees. There’s exactly one place to do it, and we were really close. Next stop – Crystal River, Florida.
In the winter months, these lumbering giants float up river to the mouth of the natural springs. They pretty much just float around, eat (they’re vegetarians) and sleep. They sleep twenty minutes at a time, wake up for a few minutes to wander around and snack, then dive-bomb for the bottom and immediately fall back asleep.
They are truly bizarre creatures. They are mammals and have hair, but a big fin for a tail instead of hind legs. They have tiny flippers in front, but they are really just fat nubs for bouncing off the bottom. They are enormous – like a ton – but are gentle and don’t’ really seem to care about anything.
Remember this next guy? Daniel. We met him in California a few months ago. He checked-in and asked “are you guys in Florida yet?” Yep – Crystal River. “Me too!”
He sent us out to some marsh land to meet him at a local joint for BBQ with his boss. Since we last met, Daniel drove his bus down to the Bay Area and parked it at a storage lot near Richmond, CA. He was one of those people that grabbed the Jet Blue ‘anywhere we fly for a whole month’ deals. He spent 30 days flying everywhere they went – Colombia, Bahamas, Costa Rica, etc. You get the idea.
His plan was to go back to S.F. and pick up the bus, but he ran a little short of cash. Now, he’s working for a few months to save some money and take off again. But, he’s debating whether to go pick up the bus or bike across New Zealand. We vote for the bike trip.
His boss was a nice guy who had the memorable quote “every now and then we lose Daniel for a while.” That’s a good boss.