Searching for Manatees

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You would think that since we had a full day without plans and without time restrictions, that I would have let us sleep in… but I really didn’t. We woke up early-ish, got a rental car, and headed east towards Cape Canaveral.

With a stop for waffles, of course.

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We didn’t have a plan for the day, though I had been looking for places where we could specifically see manatees. I drove to Manatee Cove Park first because it looked like there was a kayak rental company, Calypso Kayaking, right there. It turns out that those kayaks were timed reservations and we arrived just in the nick of time to join a tour that was heading out. I was so grateful that Holly Ann let us join! She called in our credit card payment to the main office before getting us all rigged up, then we set off.

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We saw dolphins!

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Holly Ann knew the whole area and it’s features really well. She told us about growing up there in the 70s, identified a bunch of trees and birds, and made the tour really interesting.

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I broadcasted a few minutes of our expedition on Periscope. I’m a little bummed that the video saved without all of the comments from viewers and hearts they gave me. It was my first somewhat successful broadcast! I should always Periscope from a kayak.

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She left us to our own devices for a little longer, and that’s when a few of the people from the tour decided to paddle around the lagoon — and found a manatee chilling!

Around the 3:20 mark of that video is when I finally realize where the manatee is. We saw it’s shadow and (accidentally) floated over it without incident (thankfully), so that’s pretty awesome. I’m still a little bummed that we didn’t see it more clearly, but Jason has said that next time we’re in Florida we’ll find a swimming-with-manatees tour to do — I don’t know why I’m so obsessed.

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After our kayak tour, we headed a little further east to Manatee Sanctuary Park (for which all of the reviews say there has never been a single manatee here). We didn’t stay long, but we did a quick walk around.

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We named all of the little turtles ‘Manatee.’ So, um, we saw a lot of manatees, y’all…

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Our ultimate destination: Cocoa Beach.

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It was really sunny that day, but we also got to the beach around 3pm. The wind off of the ocean had gotten really chilly and it wasn’t as perfect as I had hoped it would be… but I still went and jumped into the waves a couple of times. I even found a dollar floating in the tide! So it was practically perfect.

We stayed for about an hour (just enough time to get mostly dry) before deciding to start thinking about heading back to our hotel.

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We had to explore the pier first, though. Since we had paid too much for parking right at the beach, we had “free” admission to the end of the pier, where there’s a bar, live music, and people fishing (one guy told us that he had mostly been catching blowfish recently).

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There was also a pair of pretty relaxed pelicans, waiting to steal someone’s dinner.

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For dinner, we looked at a bunch of local restaurants in order to find some place to go all out and wound up at Florida’s Seafood. In fact, we went way too far out – I think we ordered one of each?

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Our meal included crab, lobster, scallops, aligator and seared tuna. There was more, but those were the highlights. We were so stuffed, but it was worth it.

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We asked for a table next to the eel aquarium, but had to settle with passing by as we left.

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The drive back to our hotel was pretty uneventful and our flight home the next morning was pretty early, so not much else to report. It was a really nice, welcome break from the cold, grey weather of Minnesota and I’m so grateful that Jason and I had the opportunity to check out all of these new-to-us sites.

And, yeah, I’ve already started listing ideas for our next vacation adventure.