take a quiet, peaceful morning walk. I've skipped a couple of days walking due to the temps and humidity here. Today, I headed to my favorite walk , Spring Bayou, early hoping to evade most of heat. I made it no further than a couple of blocks from where I park when I ended up embroiled in a bit of a to do.
An older gentleman asked me if I would take a look at a manatee in the bayou and tell him if I thought it was behaving abnormally. Sure...no problem and yes it was. First, I've been walking this bayou for the past 8 years several times a week and have yet to see a manatee there this time of the year. Dolphin yes...manatee, no. It is far too warm for them at the bayou during the summer months. And the poor thing was breathing strangely as if it were struggling for breath.
The gentleman, Bob, asked would I call Wildlife (the number posted for calls at the bayou) as, when he had called, he felt he has been "dismissed". And I call. And was also "dismissed". This was perfectly normal behavior for a manatee...um, no. Described what I saw (manatee is 'bobbing' in the water, surface breathing several times a minute and not showing its tail at all. I was told a biologist would call me back. Never happened.
Fast forward to other people calling as well and the Tarpon Springs Police show up...bless their souls. They are not trained for this. They put in a call as well. I get a call back on my cell from the same person I had talked with before and she wants me to take a picture. Asks me how long it (no clue, can't see the tail). Another woman had already done that and sent the photo to her at Wildlife. Would I describe the behavior of the manatee...yes, once again I do so. Now I'm told the manatee is giving birth. The woman who sent the picture gets on my phone, tells the Wildlife she has seen manatee give birth and this one is NOT.
Now, throw into the mix one of our homeless people, a very thin gently dillusional barefoot woman who has told us all God has sent her to be a blessing to the manatee, that she has called the manatee to her (there are now 2 manatee, the second one circling and nudging the ill one), and that instead of rousting the homeless sleeping on a park bench, the police should hug them. She tells us the manatee have names, Miracle and Hope. The one policeman to whom she addressed these remarks was less than amused. As those of us are trying to communicate with Wildlife, this poor soul is in our faces telling us she has blessed and cured the manatee and we should all stop talking so loudly. Wildlife is telling me she can't hear me, could I speak up. A no win situation as trying to explain to our homeless guide is not working.
I had to leave...I had left poor E for over an hour now and had only walked 15 min. of it . I did what I could as did Bob, my new friend, Pam and her husband and the Tarpon Springs police who were unfailingly polite through out the entire lecture from our homeless woman. I may never know the fate of the poor manatee. If anyone from Tarpon Springs hears, please let me know.
Just another day in my life.