Today we headed out on a quest…to find manatees in our kayaks. After doing some research, we hoped to find them in Tarpon Basin on the bayside of Key Largo. This is near where we saw a single manatee in a mangrove covered canoe/kayak trail in January. That time we rented kayaks from Florida Bay Outfitters and had to paddle all the way across Blackwater Sound, which left us pretty worn out! Six miles was a LOT with four of them in open bay with rough water, wind and currents. Florida Bay Outfitters let us know there was a public dock on tarpon basin, so we decided to check out the bay again in a search for more manatees.
At the Government and Cultural Center (approx. mile marker 102) we were able to launch our kayaks right onto Tarpon Basin from the dock. From there, we paddled north to no avail, so we turned south and asked a couple of guys on a moored houseboat if they had seen any manatees. They said they come by in the morning headed south down to the canal. We found a canal with homes on both sides and low and behold there were three manatees swimming and diving and having a good time. We got a few pics and Michelle made this 40 second video. Check it out here:
The manatees are so graceful and seem so at peace with the world. It’s quite amazing to see such a large animal up close under your kayak. Before we left the dock at the Government and Cultural Center, a guy in a boat tied to the dock told us to be careful as he had one surface under his boat and said it raised the boat a foot. In our experience, they didn’t seem to react to our presence, but also remained nearby while we hung out above them.
You can check out the map of our kayak quest here: Garmin Manatee Quest Adventure
All said it was a perfect day… nice weather, smooth water, kayaking and manatees. Thanks Lord!