“Safety First”

Share a story about a time you felt unsafe.

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When I began kayaking fishing, I was never worried about my safety with my personal floatation device secured, sunscreen, hat to block the sun, a whistle, lights and flares.

However when I began fishing the waterways of Southwest Florida, I encountered a mammal called a Manatee.

Yeah, I know they appear docile, cute and cool to view from land, however, when you see them close up from a kayak, they can be intimidating.
Now, Florida law specifically states no one is to touch or play with a Manatee.
Knowing, this fact, as I watched a nine-foot Manatee cow and her calf saunter towards my twelve-foot kayak.

So I began to paddle faster in the opposite direction to give them space in the mangroves. As I started paddling faster, I thought to myself, I have never had an alligator swim towards my kayak.

The calf approached from my right side moving close enough, and I pulled my paddle out of the water. I began moving my hips in a forward motion to keep the kayak gliding in the water.
Then suddenly the calf rolled to it’s left, peering through the water with an eye towards me and swam away.

When I began to breathe again, the mother cow swam close enough before she turned and her tail collided with the front of my kayak.

When I felt the impact, I stopped my hip motion and froze for a moment.

It was at this point, for the first time I have been kayaking, I felt unsafe.
As, I furiously paddled away; I believe the state of Florida needs to educate the Manatee population not to get too close to me.

Anyone know how to translate or speak Manatee?

Merry Christmas!

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