The creature emerged from the murky depths of Floridaâ€™s Crystal River just a couple of feet below where I was floating. I froze and felt my eyes widen. I wanted to shout â€œmanatee!â€ but knew that would scare the animal. And that was the last thing I wanted to do.
Before I even dipped a toe in the water, I had been drilled about the rules of passive observation. â€œYou have to be really quiet,â€ said Yves Delpech ofÂ Sunshine River Tours. And donâ€™t touch the manatees; â€œlet them touch you,â€ he said. Manatees, it appears, are the introverts of the sea.