Most tourists are lucky to see fish during a paddle boarding river cruise along the Weeki Wachee river in Florida, so this couple was surprised and delighted when they witnessed a rare sight. When Tyler and Lauren looked down from their paddle boards, they saw ten inquisitive manatees gliding past them in the crystal clear water. A video shows the manatees swimming behind them slowly before passing them on the stretch of water.
Pamela Napp caught the majestic moment on video and shared it on the Stand Up Paddle Boarding Weeki Facebook page, where it was watched over 3 million times. She wrote, “We don’t see manatee every time people go out here – and I always tell people they’re lucky to see one. These folks got to see ten all at once.”
Although the gentle giants are native to the river and have no natural predators, West Indian manatees are endangered and seeing them along the river is a rare sight. Tyler and Lauren are among the lucky few who have caught a glimpse of an entire herd of these mellow animals. Manatees are referred to as ‘sea cows’ because of their similar size, their lumbering, placid nature, and their diet of mostly seagrasses and vegetation. Despite the nickname though, they’re more closely related to elephants according to livescience.