Sunday, November 2, 2014

Part Two: A Celebrity of the Most Unusual Kind


Clumps of fish netting lie drying on this wooden dock in Cherokee Sound, Abaco. Minus the culling of seagulls flying above and fish splashing below, this is a quiet spot in the Bahamas. Quiet until my celebrity of the most unusual kind bubbles up to the surface.


When I visited Cherokee and walked the narrow pathway towards the dock, I had no idea something weird and large waited in the water below. One look and I knew: I  had never seen anything like it.

It hugged the side of the dock in a half circular fashion. The motionless thing I stared at looked like an over-sized tire. While trying to figure it out, the tire-thing moved. I jumped and shrieked loudly, 'What the hell is that?'

Ceddie, a Cherokee Sound denizen, sat on the upper dock smiling. He nonchalantly said, "Oh, that's Georgie. She's our resident Manatee." 


Manatee? Living mostly in The Bahamas, I'm accustomed to seeing marine life: stingrays, turtles, bright red and orange starfish; dolphins, plus plenty of fish. Georgie, however, is my first manatee.

Ceddie gave me the scoop about Georgie: Born in Spanish Wells, Bahamas, Georgie swam 48 miles with her mom, Rita to Nassau where they were rescued, cared for, armed with tracking devices and released. Afterwards, Georgie began traveling solo. 200 miles later, she turned up in the quaint settlement of Cherokee Sound.

Ceddie feeding Georgie hosed water
In Cherokee, where Georgie received celebrity treatment, she was given water from a hose and fed cabbage and lettuce on a daily basis - and lots of it. Six months into her stay, Georgie's human friends thought she looked ill. The Atlantis Marine Mammal Rescue Center agreed to treat Georgie and escorted her to Nassau. After her health improved, the Center released Georgie, this time in The Berry Islands some 90 miles from Cherokee.

Similar to lost dogs who find their way back home, Georgie crossed the ocean and returned to Cherokee Sound, Abaco where she again receives nourishment and adoration. The convenience food store in Cherokee even displays a sign announcing Georgie's return and asks all boaters to dock with care to prevent injury of their resident celebrity.

Feeding Georgie lettuce
My biggest thrill was feeding Georgie lettuce and cabbage. After Ceddie told me that Georgie has soft teeth, I wasn't afraid when her ball-like mouth grazed over my hand to take the food.

Courtesy of Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization
Click here and scroll down then page to watch "Georgie" The Manatee Movie: On Location at Cherokee, Abaco




Have an unusual celebrity? I'd love to read about it.




2 comments:

  1. Lovely story! Manatees are fascinating creatures.

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  2. Wow. Awesome. Georgie sounds amazing. Great pics, too.

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