'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Of sea cows and other wonders


(NOTE: The photos in this post (except the one of our dinghy) are not ours. We were too busy communing to take any silly pictures.)

When we first entered southern waters last fall, I at least was figuring we’d be seeing manatees on a regular basis. I mean, they’re everywhere, right? And all those signs for “Manatee Zone – minimum wake” can’t be there for no reason.

But we didn’t see them. At least, we saw traces a couple of times, but never enough of a view to even be certain that was what it was.

Until today!

This morning, Nicki and I dinghied up the canal on Longboat Key to the Longbeach Cafe – a place that’s become a favorite stop for us. Basically it’s a diner, with a more interesting menu than your average inland diner, and a patio on the canal with a sea wall that you can tie your dinghy to when you come for breakfast. Or brunch, if early mornings aren’t your thing. So of course we were there for brunch.

Anyway, after brunch, and chatting with another couple who were very interested in this crazy, off-the-beaten-track life we live, we got into the car… er… dinghy, and headed back out the canal. And a quarter-mile later shut the motor off to drift slowly through a herd of manatees! We think there were five, maybe six. They’d stick their noses (some big, some quite small) up to breathe, which is how we spotted them, and then a couple minutes later they’d do it again…

Now mind you, the water in the canal wasn’t as clear as in this photo, but we could still see them clearly when they were nearby. Pretty cool!

And then – on a whim – I stuck my fingers in the water next to the dinghy and wiggled them gently…

And one came to see me! Very curious, bumped my hand with her nose, sniffed my hand, then very slowly moved forward, inviting me to scratch the top of her snout and the back of her head… Leathery, soft, covered with sea moss, and warm…

Hey, I may be easy to amuse, but damn that was cool!

I don’t care who you are: Sea. Cows. Rock!

Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house. we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

4 thoughts on “Of sea cows and other wonders

  1. Nice blog entry! And we also like your Puffin® dinghy!. We have one, too.


    • Thanks Phil! Interestingly, ours isn’t a Puffin, though it is similar. We got it as an unfinished hull, from a fellow you knew a guy… You know the story. We have – and occasionally use – a lug sailing rig for it too, which I adapted from a 12′ dorry rig. Quite fun, but won’t fit two people when sailing!


  2. “Sea. Cows. Rock!” I’d like that on a t-shirt…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Manatees are wonderful creatures. They come into the marina from time to time.


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