Saturday, January 6, 2007

A Christmas Present to my Eight-Year-Old Self



One thing that some people might not know about me is that I get insanely pumped about animals. I'm sure I've spent hours talking to Kyle about my "favourite animals" (lizards, elephants, ducks, hedgehogs, beavers...) and listing off the many qualities that make these creatures so fantastic. Kyle usually humours me and sometimes pretends to share my excitement. However, he also tends to tease me by saying horrible things. For example, according to Kyle, his favourite thing about ducklings is the noise they make when he stomps on them.

I trace my love of animals to the things I learned about in World Magazine, that treasure trove of wildlife posters and articles that rocked my pre-pubescent world. The issue I remember most clearly is one that introduced me to one of my ULTIMATE FAVOURITE animals...the manatee. I was captivated by these enormous marine mammals who spend their lives eating sea grass and floating around in hot springs off the coast of Florida. I tore the manatee poster out of the magazine and put it on my bedroom wall so that I could gaze up at it and behold the insane awesomeness of the manatee. And also so that I could shake my fist in rage at the morons who hurt and kill manatees by running over them with boats and cutting their poor little backs and tails with propellers.

When I found out that we were going to Florida with Kyle's family for Christmas, my one goal for the trip was to find myself a real, live manatee...and perhaps to catch one and ride around on its back through the Gulf of Mexico. The more I researched, the more I realized that my dream was probably a selfish one. So I settled for a kayak tour that would allow me to see manatees but not bother them.

Our kayak trip was the highlight of my time in Florida. We went out at 8am with a guide to hunt manatees in our kayaks. I was so excited when I saw the first one stick its nose above the water and let out a bunch of snotty steam! The first few we saw were in really deep water and I was worried that we would only see manatee nostrils. But later we paddled into the hot springs, which were super clear and quite shallow. At first, I was kind of nervous to see the manatees swimming around under me because they were bigger than my boat. They were so gentle and gorgeous! We were quite close to them and even spent a bunch of time paddling along with a mama manatee and her baby. Toward the end of the trip we kayaked up a small stream to where the hot springs well up from the ground. The water there was crystal clear and we could see tons of fish swimming around below our boats. It was amazingly beautiful! If I ever do make a list of things I want to do once in my lifetime, I'll already be able to check this one off.




14 comments:

Amisha said...

I remember reading that exact World Magazine and feeling bad about the poor manatees and the white scars across their backs too. I can't believe you wrote about your love for animals and didn't mention your fascination with animals riding animals.

Avey said...

Hey Jamie! I'm so glad you have finally decided to blog. I'm still waiting for a blog of the soup story though. I wish I had spent my Christmas in Florida...

Celia said...

A blog for Jamie, what a wonderful Christmas present to the world.
I'm glad that your craziness allowed you such a fun experience.
Ps. that's definitly a normal thing for a kid to do, really, don't worry about it all (cough)

Jamie said...

Thanks for the comments guys. I'm so excited about them! Celia, I can't help but notice that in your profile photo you are riding a seal. What a bitter reminder of what might have been...

jamie said...

yeah! jamie pope has a blog! I'm very excited and I love your story of Florida..you must have had such an awesome time! Funny thing, I'm writing this comment while at work and your parents just walked by...crazy! Have fun with your new blog..I'm intrigued about the soup story.

jamie said...

I just realized that our names are the same on here..he he, this could be tricky!

Scott and Alanna said...

Hey James,
You look like you're making out with that thing...
What's Kyle's favourite thing about manatees

Scott and Alanna said...

Hey James,
You look like you're making out with that thing...
What's Kyle's favourite thing about manatees?
A

Just Tim said...

Chilling with the manatee’s sound unbelieveably ubber cool!! Good on ya!!!
It's awesome that you're blogging too its been far too long without wacky jamie stories so far as i am concerned.

Jamie said...

Hey I'm excited to see tim on here. I'll try to have some good adventures to write about. And for Alanna, I asked KYle what his favourite thing about manatees was and he said that its that they remind him of his wife. I could take that to be a huge diss, but as I have been obsessed with them lately, I can't really blame him for that association.

Julie said...

Hi Jamie. I loved your kayaking and manatee story. I'm glad to hear you got to follow through with one of your childhood dreams. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of your Florida pics.

Perpetualstudent said...

yeah, the Jamie Jamie thing is confusing me. I thought Pope was posting on my blog but Jenn kept insisting it was Primeau since there was no way Pope could be technologically sophisticated enough to have a blog . . . ha, proved her wrong! (and yes I like to make up on own words!)

Jamie said...

Jamie Pope not technologically sophisticated? Okay, maybe. But having a blog doesn't really take much sophistication, I guess

Anonymous said...

Hi James,
It sure is good to see that you finally are using the technology that is available to make the world a smaller place! Your window is the best one I have look through, for a long time!

How wonderful to see a few (can’t wait for the rest) pictures of you. It does sound like you get to experience fun stuff in life, and if it gets a bit boring, then you’ll just make a bit of soup and the world will laugh again! Some might say Poor Kyle, but I say that he is the luckiest man alive! To think that his very own Martha Steward, not only cooks but she can also remove sharp elements from his tongue! The manatee looks like he is enjoying the gentle touch!
Well, that’s all from China this time around. Your little window has been added to my favorites, and will be checked often!
Love Bettina

 
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