It'd been a couple of weeks since we'd been out sailing, both because Jamie has been keeping too busy with school, and because our aged two-stroke outboard hasn't been performing well lately. While our goal is to spend as much time as possible under sail, we still rely on the outboard to get us in and out of the marina, and it's always nice to know it's there to fall back on when something goes wrong.
We got to the harbor and started getting things ship shape as recently taught by our friend, Bill, preparing the sails, making up lines, and putting cell phones, wallets and keys into a plastic bag. Nearly ready, we were greeted by our harbormaster, Peter, who suggested we should walk down to the end of the harbor to see something cool before heading out in the boat. The something cool turned out to be a group of manatees drinking fresh water from a hose off the back of another sailboat.
We were warmly welcomed aboard the nearby sailboat, owned by friendly couple who'd recently sailed up from South Africa. They've been in town a few weeks, and are headed East soon with their daughter, across the Atlantic to enjoy the islands off the coast of Portugal. John had built their boat himself in the early 1980's out of ferrocement, and was full of excellent sailing advice for us.
As for the manatees, it turns out that they love fresh water, and are known to hang out under a garden hose and drink tens of gallons of water.
Jamie and the manatees
We stood on the boat for about two minutes watching the manatees before I ran back for the camera.
Jamie spraying the manatees
Jamie took a turn at the hose, spraying fresh water onto the four manatees that had gathered at the back of the sailboat. There were three adults, and one young one all taking turns and apparently greatly enjoying themselves.
Three thirsty manatees
Three of the manatees all drinking from the hose at the same time. They weren't in the least bit bothered by us five humans talking and pointing, oohing and ahhing, so long as we kept the water flowing out of the hose.
Four "Sea Cows"
Unfortunately there's nothing in the picture to show the sheer size of these large marine mammals, but the largest was will over 1,000 pounds. You can see the youngest still drinking from the hose in the lower left corner of the photo.
Jamie proudly took complete control of the boat today, handling the lines for both sails and steering for the entire time we were out on the water. The winds were light, but she proved she knew how to use her tell-tails keeping us humming along at six knots much of the time. After several hours in the intercoastal, she took as back to the marina flying "wing and wing" the whole way.
I had the extremely difficult task of occupying my mind with nothing to keep me busy. It was quite a challenge, but somehow I managed. It was 85 degrees, with only a breeze and a beer to cool me down. Sheer torture.