Snorkeling excursions sometimes result in incredible encounters with sea creatures, and one woman recently had a “once in a lifetime experience” when she was “hugged” by a massive manatee in Florida.
On Friday, Mandy Egner, who owns an airboat tour company, went on a snorkeling excursion with her cousin in Crystal River, Florida. While she was in the water, Egner was approached by a curious sea cow that reportedly “embraced” her and “flipped” her out of the water, Fox News reported. Egner shared a clip of her manatee incident on Facebook, which has generated more than 2,000 views so far.
“She approached us and was very interested. We would back up to give her space and she would come right back to us,” Egner told Fox News. “When she approached me … I kept my hands up to let her check me out on her terms.”
Egner told Fox News that she made sure to follow the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) viewing guidelines, which urge swimmers to never pursue or touch manatees, which are currently protected under federal law. “If the site you visit allows in-water activities near manatees, use snorkel gear and float at the surface of the water to passively observe manatees,” the FWC says on its website.
Egner admitted that she felt slightly uncomfortable, since the manatee was very big and she wasn’t sure of its next moves.
“At one point we were in about five feet of water and as she was rolling I could feel myself being taken under,” Egner explained. “I might have had a moment of nerves then but remembered she is just a gentle giant with no bad intentions.”
Despite the strange incident, Egner was surprised at the animal’s reactions and still had fun on her snorkeling excursion.
“It was cool when she hugged me, but this was just amazing, Egner added. “I never thought I would be flipped out of the water by the manatee.”
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