FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Florida family got up close and personal with manatees along a Fort Pierce beach area earlier this month.
On July 4, Lisa Blais said her sons were catching some waves near Fort Pierce Inlet. It's a family tradition as her twin boys' birthday happens to fall on the following day.
It was a normal morning in the water until Blais said her sons, Evan and Logan, and their dad, noticed dark figures approaching them underneath the water.
They weren't sure what it was.
"Maybe a diver or a shark," Blais said. "You see creatures and they didn't know what it was."
She said the water was pretty calm, and you could see clearly to the bottom. As the figures got closer, that's when they realized a pod of four manatees was swimming closer to them.
At that moment, the boys' father, Brandon Blais, swam up to shore to get his GoPro and catch the encounter on camera. Two of the manatees swam away, while two stayed near the swimmers.
That's when you see 11-year-old Evan come face to face with a curious, playful manatee. Lisa Blais said her sons knew not to touch them. They were actually a little intimidated by how large they were.
"Their boards are about 5 feet," Lisa Blais said. "And the manatees were bigger."
The manatee completely took over the surfboard and in the video, you see it just relax a little bit with the surfers. It was a surreal moment for the family, to say the least.
"He touched me!" you can hear Evan exclaim as the manatee took over his surfboard.
The family is local to the Fort Pierce area and they head out to the beach daily, but this was a first, and a moment they won't forget.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises the public "look but don't touch manatees" as it can alter their behavior in the wild.