Manatees are in the list among the most endangered mammals. They were the basis of ancient tales of mermaids, the legendary creatures that were half Fish and half human

Those Gorgeous Mermaids

Chris and Sandy are strolling along the beach by Big Daddy's accompanied by their two children Cindy and Chris Jr., when they see a sign about manatee watch and playing with them. They stop and inquire from a local who is just going up the main Pier and he is delighted to recommend Glovannie from Excalibur and Martin from the Hustler. Immediately Chris Jr., is enthusiastic and eager to go on the said trip since he has recently studied them in his science class. Besides, it includes a boat ride and the sun is so bright and the sea so calm that it is a perfect day out at sea.

The family walks barefooted by Big Daddy's and ventures in to get more information. After a refreshing pina colada and two virgin coladas for th kids, the bartender lets loose in offering information and tips for the manatee trip.

Soon Chris and wife with two overactive kids find themselves on board a boat captained by a dark skinned guide whose sun-baked back shines in the sun. The family applies some sunscreen lotion and offers some to their guide who with a warm smile says, "No thanks ma'am, me use to di sun." The kid cannot hold their laughter at their guide's expression and his Creole accent. At 25 miles per hour, they cruise along the reef into the Boca del Rio cut along the river, into the lagoon and off the island by way of another cut which their guide cruises at full speed. Chris has taken several photographs of his happy kids who are munching on local plantain chips and sipping coca-colas. Sandy is wearing a hat with a wide brim; she almost looks like a Mexican Mariachi, but to Chris she seems like a mermaid from the tales of the deep sea.

A mermaid- this reminds Chris this is the purpose of the trip. He grabs on to a pair of binoculars and again their guide smiles. "You no need dat, we gwain strait to the manatees. Plenty a dern and we gwain strait to dem." Chris barely has time to put away his binoculars when the guide shouts, "There they are, tree a dem, a ma, a pa, and a five foot baby." Twenty feet away, there they were- another family giving them a local welcome. They surface at the same time to breathe as Chris snaps 2 shots in a row. A short dive and they come again, this time so close they could almost touch them and when the father breathes, he sprinkles some water unto the kids. At the third rise, the guide is so skillful he manages to be so close that Chris Jr., stretches out and touches the animal. The female winks a flirty eye as the baby rolls on its back to expose his small and rounded flippers. The moment of their lives. The cameraman takes countless shots that Jr., will be able to boast with his science teacher. They are filled with awe and cannot believe they are actually petting animals in the wild.

"We used to eat them, you know," exclaimed the guide. "But we don't anymore. Only fu di tourist." After sailing here and there, they are able to spot several more manatees, some as large as 12 feet and babies as small as 4 feet. '.'Can we feed them chips," exclaims Cindy. "No Miss, they are vegetarians, They have plenty of grass," remarks the guide.

After several rounds and after having the day of their lives in San Pedro's open water zoo, the crew returns to their dock. At the bar at the end of the dock, they order for some cold Belikins as the children enjoy a soft drink. Sandy cannot help repeating how fantastic the day had been and ends uptipping the guide with a $50 bill.

Just as the sun is setting in the west; the happy family Strolls leiSUrely down the beach to their room at Ramon's Village. Day four at San Pedro has been an incredible experience, one that will carry a lot of boasting.

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