HopeTown harbor’s resident manatee, named Randy, is back after spending the summer near Castaway Cay, at the southwest end of Abaco. (There is reportedly another manatee who lives up one of the creeks.)
Randy likes to hang out around the Lighthouse Marina’s gas dock.
I climbed down a ladder to get an underwater picture.
Standing on the lowest rung, my legs underwater to my knees and clinging to the clunky wooden ladder with one arm, I leaned down as far as I could, plunging my other arm into the water, trying not to drop the camera. I couldn’t see what the camera could see, but I was determined to get something.
And I did. The manatee swam directly toward me; I reached out and petted the back of his head. Just as scratchy as it looks.
He opened his mouth as he approached and then his not-so-attractive “mouth” was right on my leg, munching – or trying to. It tickled. But when I felt his tongue, I couldn’t keep myself from pulling away. Creepy.
He swam on.
The harbor is small and busy with boats. We worry about our resident manatee. We like him.