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2015-05-20 18.21.15

 

They see me long before I become aware of being watched. They adjust to my movements silently and invisibly. Is it ignorance or arrogance to be so unaware? Perhaps neither.  They have the evolutionary advantage of having eyes on stalks.

kayaking

When I become still enough to notice my breath and feel my heartbeat I begin to detect an unsettling presence. I close my eyes and remind myself I am the one here in predator form. I open my eyes and see the trees covered with hundreds of eyes and legs and claws darting away from my gaze. Later I will learn the name of these creatures: mangrove tree crabs.  For now, we all settle back into stillness.

Deep within the mangrove a winged-thing shrieks. I gaze down at the water.  First, there’s only my rippled reflection and the clouds. Then beneath the surface a frightenly huge figure manifests itself. Surely this beast is a figment of my imagination. It’s as big as the kayak and gliding by close enough to touch.

“Um…there’s a giant sea monster coming up on your right,” I warn over my shoulder.

He doesn’t belive me. Doesn’t comment.  Doesn’t even look.

“Like the Lochness Monster…” I add.

Nothing.

“It’s huge.  Bigger than you. I hope it doesn’t turn your kayak over and eat you.” I really don’t know who I’m talking to at this point.

Maybe I imagined it.

I am the predator here, I affirm silently, though with a little less certainty.

And then suddenly there’s another monster beside my kayak – its body seems to go on forever.

“Sea monster!” I exclaim.

And a few seconds later it’s under him.  With genuine fear in his voice, “Oh shit! What the-”

There is a moment of smug satisfaction on my part before my powers of deduction finally kick in and I gleefully announce, “AaaiiEEEE! It’s a manatee!!”

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