While some people think manatees are frightening sea creatures that lurk in murky rivers, that couldn’t be further from the truth. These peaceful animals spend their days casually swimming shallow waters and coming up to the surface to cheerfully investigate the world around them.
Due to their gentle nature and sweet demeanor, they’ve been spotted all over the coastal United States. But no sighting was as adorable as the manatee moment two paddleboarders got to experience recently.
They were paddling along when an incredibly friendly manatee popped up to say hello. We’re just glad they had their camera running the whole time…
While there are some commercial places where humans can directly interact with manatees, the paddleboarders’ encounter was purely by chance. They had no idea the friendly sea creature was swimming quietly just a few feet under the surface!
Capt. John Pann, manager at the Crystal River Plantation Adventure Center, a facility where people can swim with manatees, told Awesome Ocean that interacting with one has the power to change how you look at the endangered animals forever.
“It’s a life-changing experience for some folks. You get in the water, you see how friendly and loving they are, you’re much more likely to want to protect that animal. You’ll never speed through a manatee zone again.”
Clearly, these paddleboarders felt the same way when they got back onshore. They were able to hold “hands” with the gentle giant as it lazily held onto their board.
Surely, their experience was a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing – who else can say they’ve truly bonded with a manatee?
Since they’ve uploaded their incredible video online, more than 6 million people have tuned in. Everyone is blown away by the manatee’s friendly nature and how long it hung out with the paddleboarders. Obviously, the manatee was enamored by its new human friends.
Take a peek at this fascinating interaction between the paddleboarders and manatee below. How cool!