My Manatee Adventure

(Probably not one of my most photogenic moments)
I missed another Healthy Writers Club post this Friday--which means I haven't posted since I participated in the U.S. Geological Survey's Crystal River manatee research study two weeks ago. This means I still have to nerd-squee all over the place. (Here's the link to my original post: Manatees and Squeeing!)

Manatee Research Study Team: November 2012
In short, I had an absolute BLAST. It was absolutely mind-boggling to be included with such a capable and professional group of people. I was on the Manatee Catch Team, so my job was to help pull in nets and to help restrain the manatees on the beach. Once they were restrained, we pulled them into a stretcher, loaded them onto a boat, and escorted them over to the medical beach, where veterinarians performed all their tests before giving the animals back to us to release in the deep water.

Catch Team: November 2012
The manatees were out of their element, of course, but everyone there did everything possible to make the encounter as stress-free as possible. Everything ran like clockwork, and the animals were even given oxygen while their heart rates were monitored for stress.

Weigh Station: November 2012
(That's me with the sunglasses in the middle on the right side!)
My friend Sonya and I both jumped right into the action, and we crashed into this crazy dog pile every time we restrained an animal. We were all covered in mud, and everyone’s hands were on top of each other, and we were bumping faces and falling in on top of each other. Someone always had a hand on your back, or he or she was helping steady you as you walked. The teamwork was amazing, and I felt so honored to be part of something like this.

(That's Sonya on the left and me in the middle!)
After spending so many years living away from water (or in Alaska'a case, water you can actually swim in), I can definitively say I feel like I've returned home now. Once you have saltwater in your veins, you struggle to live without it. :)