Two paddleboarders in Florida recently got a once-in-a-lifetime experience when a friendly manatee swam up to their boards and decided to hang out.
Celine Chasteen and her friend were paddling in the waters in Jupiter when two manatees popped up in the waters near them. And one was very friendly. Her friend caught the rare and friendly encounter on video.
Chasteen told WPTV that the “sea cow” was playful and kept rolling on its back. It even put its flippers on her board. An incident that completely freaked them out at first. The sea creature casually hung out for about 30 seconds before disappearing back underwater.
I would have been tempted to give the manatee a high-five. But luckily, the two women had enough sense to just enjoy the moment. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says to look, but don’t touch if you see a manatee. They’re wild animals, after all.
Chasteen later explained The Dodo about her chance encounters with the animal.
“We were going along the coast and I saw what I thought were rocks, but then they started moving. The next thing I know, there’s a manatee putting his flippers on my board,” she said.
She further opened up about her surprise when the manatee showed up on her board. Then after a few moments, she started to enjoy the experience.
“At first, I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ But honestly, it was so cool. I’ve never experienced anything like that before,” Chasteen told The Dodo. “I hope he drops by again.”
Manatees are on the endangered species list, though some say they should be classified as threatened. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reminds residents not to chase the animals for a closer view, WPTV reports. Also, they report that if a manatee, also known as a sea cow, approaches you, don’t touch them.
Chasteen called it “the craziest thing ever.” And luckily, her friend caught the whole thing on camera. Watch it below: