Around 6:15 this morning my friends Howard Tarpey and Carolyn Thomas called to let me me know they were helping this sweet female manatee who was beached.
The tide was on the way out which meant she had a very long trek back to the water.
I feel honored to be a small part of a group of Shineadoors (people coming together to help) coming together to help Bella the manatee.
People were digging with shovels to make a trench around her, others were taking turns going back and forth to fill buckets of water to pour over her, people were taking off their clothes off, dipping them in the water and laying them on her to keep her wet and cool. Another woman went to get us water to keep us going.
The park ranger was amazing, she brought us towels and shovels and even found my keys when I lost them. The lifeguards brought us umbrellas and checked on us to see if we needed anything.
The stranded mammal crew drove from Jacksonville to assess Bella to see if she was healthy. They brought the sling to slide under her so she could be carried back to the ocean. Let me just say sweet Bella, was not light. It took a lot of teamwork to roll her on her side and slide the sling under her.
I am happy to report Bella swam off the sling and back into the water!