Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2011 Trip to FL - Wednesday - Kayaking with Manatees and Hockey

Wednesday was a beautiful day so we packed up everyone to go kayak with the manatees at Manatee Park.  Max and I borrowed my parents' sea kayaks and little Max paddled with Grumps in a double kayak.

 Granna and Max.  Little Max is making a manatee face...

Optimal viewing times to see the manatees is November - March, when water temps in the gulf are still cool.   The manatees come to the park seeking the warmth of the power plant outflow.  It is such an eerie feeling to be in a little boat so close to the water and having these large animals swimming directly underneath you.  They are playful and love to stick their noses out of the water and snort at paddlers.  They also like to bump and rock the boats which can be a somewhat scary experience...but they aren't doing it for anything more than fun.  They eat plants...not meat!

Putting our life jackets on and getting ready.  Little Max's hat might look familiar because it is actually SAM's hat. Yes, bad mommy moment.  I forgot a hat for him, and wouldn't you know it....NO ONE in Ft. MYERS sells hats for toddlers!  Luckily, we squeezed Max's big noggin into Sam's little 12-18 mo hat. 

Getting in my boat carefully...can't get my feet wet, you know?
You launch in a little inlet and have to paddle through a little mangrove stream to get out into the 'open' water.
I think at first, little Max was a tiny bit scared.  He's been on boats with my dad before on the pond by their house, so it wasn't his first time on the water.  Once they had been in the boat for awhile, he got much bolder...and insisted that HE should paddle.  LOL
This photo will be used for Santee Sea Kayak's next catalog picture.  (JK)
Doesn't he look like a natural?

We saw LOTS of manatees.  They were all hanging out by where the water comes out of the power plant (warm water) and we got to see plenty of them moving around in the water.  I even got bumped a few times.  We did this the last time we had visited my parents in Ft. Myers, when little Max was only a month old, so it was fun to get back out and do it again.  I highly recommend it to anyone visiting/living in the Ft. Myers area.

Later that evening, Max and I went out for dinner and to catch a local 'Everblades' hockey game with my cousin Mike and his wife Rochelle.  Granna and Grumps did extra duty and watched all THREE of our kids and put ALL THREE to bed (successfully).  You can tell that they are seasoned pros.


Megan said...

I'm so jealous! Manatees are my favorite animals on the planet!

mel said...

When you line up Sam with Max and his cousin, he looks like a proper little boy! Where'd the little snuggy baby go? Bring him back!! But seriously, that kayaking adventure looks so cool.