That Time I Saw a Manatee and fell in Love

I wasn’t feeling great last night after the red eye and long day, so I didn’t set an alarm for this morning. I wanted to let my body wake up when it was ready. So, I got a super late start on my long run – 8:30am. Not horrific, well not horrific unless you’re in Florida and it’s 89 degrees 60% humidity.

florida beach with drift wood (800x450)

So yeah. It’s gorgeous, but brutal here. My run was rough, but I did it. I was DRENCHED in sweat. And I’m pretty sure I need to grow gills to breathe in this air. But, when race day comes and it’s hot or another extreme condition I’ll be prepared.

15 miles in h e double hockey sticks (800x450)

from the bridge view (800x450)

After the run I walked another mile or two to the group hanging out at the beach.

florida beach with trees

relaxing on the beach. (800x450)

I was just relaxing in the water when I noticed people looking at the water and pointing at something. I had this feeling my life was about to change, so I got up to check it out….

There was a dark shadow in the water and I heard someone say ‘manatee’. So, naturally I went right toward it and was a few feet from him when he peeked his head out of the water to breathe. We made eye contact and it was love.

I have loved manatees since third grade when I wanted to raise money to save them from boaters cutting up their backs. I made book marks to sell to send them money (I ended up spending the money on ice cream, but I was 8 and it was a hot SoCal summer and the statue of limitations to make me feel bad about that has passed).

The point is I LOVE manatees and I specifically married Ben because he’s from Florida and I could visit them every year (also, don’t tell Ben this).

I have visited Florida ten times since meeting him and NEVER saw a manatee. Finally today was the day I met a manatee and it was epic. Love.

call me manatee

I wanted to just stay there forever, but Marco the Manatee had to leave so I climbed in the boat to head back.

on a boat on a boat (800x450)

open water and beach (800x450)

I ate a lot of food. I’m not taking pics of everything this week.

lunch of champions (800x450)

And now I’m blogging poolside.

blogging poolside (800x450)

For those asking, I’m about 1.5 hours south of Tampa so I can’t really meet up to run Sad smile But, I will be back in FL for a non-family trip in November! Stay tuned.


Question: Have you met a manatee?


  1. Kristen B says

    Yes, the Florida humidity is brutal. I did a 5K last weekend and it was 90% humidity at the 7:30 start. I have yet to see a manatee, but I’m always keeping my eyes open when I’m at the coast. Coming back to the Tampa area in November…hmmm…could it be a big event for women runners???

  2. says

    My friend was swimming in Florida this summer and a manatee popped up right next to him. It was a secluded area so it was really startling but he said it was so cool to see! I didn’t know that manatees casually swam with humans.

  3. says

    We actually have lots of them behind my house in the Venice area and I see them every morning when I run over the Legacy Trail bridge but the coolest thing ever was when we were in Hudson, Florida one weekend and I jumped in the water and a baby manatee swam under me and around me and literally bumped into me at least 10 times. I swam beside him for over an hour. I have pictures on my facebook page.

  4. says

    YES! I have seen them in the wild many times. I’ve even snorkeled with them! Such awesome animals. Fun fact: Do you know it’s against the law to give a manatee water in the state of Fl?

  5. says

    I have never met a manatee but the are such fantastic creatures. I can’t get over that pool! It looks like it’s in a green house and surrounded by the tropics! While I don’t particularly enjoy heat and humidity (so you run sounds pretty much unbearable to me), I might suck it up to have a poolside spot like to that!

  6. says

    15 miles in the humidity? Sounds like a hardcore run to me–way to stick with it, man! Are you training for anything specific right now? Or just decided to run way long on your vacation?

  7. Allyssa says

    Hahahaha I’d love to feel bad for your miserable run but I live in between where you are visiting and Tampa so now you know what I deal with all year. It sucks running here.

    I’ve seen lots of manatees! I even swam with them in a fresh water spring of the river one time. They’re so peaceful to watch.

    You should go to St.Armands circle and eat at the Columbia restaurant today. It’s the one day of the year they charge their 1905 (year) prices. Which by the way, is a drastic reduction from normal.

  8. Hillary says

    My cousin was a rescue worker and marine biologist who studied manatees, and she named one after me! :) I’ve loved them for years, and when she sent me a poster for my birthday that read “Where is Hillary?” and talked about the cuts from the boats, I was about in heaven (hey – I was 8ish too, and you spent the money on ice cream, so no judging!). Never met her up close though!

  9. Kristy says

    I’ve never met a manatee…but I had the opportunity to meet a few whale sharks in Cozumel last month. They were majestic!

  10. says

    Awww! I’ve always wanted to see a Manatee in the wild. I’m so jealous! I’m glad it was a magical moment. I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed.

  11. Samantha says

    I’ve lived in Florida (Tampa and the bay area) my whole life and have never seen a manatee in the wild. I grew up in Manatee county, went to Manatee high school, and only ever met Snooty at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. Snooty is a legend though around Bradenton!

    And yeah, running in Florida is brutal. It’s actually been slightly cooler this weekend (like 3 degrees!), which was definitely welcome for my long run on Saturday.

    If what some of the other poster’s are saying is true, than I hope to see you at the Women’s half! I’ll be running it!

  12. says

    You met a manatee, that’s awesome! I have also loved manatees since around third grade (what is it about elementary school and manatees?), one of these days I’m going to get myself to Florida to see them.

  13. says

    That is so freakin’ cool! My mom is the same way with manatees. She’s always adored them. It’s sort of “our thing” that every year at Christmas, something I gift her will be manatee-related…whether it’s a new ornament or a stuffed animal, etc.

  14. Katie D. says

    Not only did I meet a manatee (at Homossa Springs Wildlife Park). I adopted, Loreli for my husband!! We are proud manatee parents :)

    And in 4th grade I did a report on manatees and have been smitten since. When we vacationed to Florida and were at the wildlife park, my husband had the camera. He gave it back to me and there were about 50 pictures of the manatees.

    Also, there is a Save the Manatee 5k in the southern part of MI every spring. Some year my husband and I are going to drive down there and do it. Just for the manatee medals!

  15. says

    No mantees for me, but I got all cozy with some sea lions a couple weekends ago.

    Those are some awesome beachy pics. Makes me want a fruity drink and to nap in the sun all day.

  16. Happier Heather says

    I’m jealous. I’ve only visited Florida once and REALLY wanted to see a Manatee, so we went to a canal they frequent. The water was murky, so we only got to see a glimpse of a flipper as one turned under the water. Maybe someday my dream will come true like yours did!

  17. Suegene Wagner says

    Oh my gosh – I was googling manatees for a friend of mine…and I follow you regularly….and I realize looking at your map that I was in the same area as you were over Labor Day weekend, and some of the pictures look very familiar! We were on Manasota Key but spent a couple of afternoons down at Boca Grande! I feel almost famous!

  18. says

    I clicked over to your blog from another blog and saw you visit Florida and turns out I live basically exactly where you are! If you love manatees you will probably get a chance to see more if you come back, I have lived here my whole life and have seen them plenty of times :)

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