HOLMES BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — When diver James Preslick saw a dark, shadowy figure moving closer towards him in the water Sunday morning, it turned out to be something he didn’t expect.
“I expected a shark or stingray, but not a manatee this time of the year,” Preslick told Nexstar’s WFLA.
While diving off Florida’s Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island around 11 a.m., Preslick was greeted by the curious manatee. The encounter was captured by Preslick, who could be seen waving at the manatee once he realized what sea creature it was.
“My first reaction was, ‘What the heck is that coming towards me!?!'” James said. “I saw its nose come out of the water and figured out what it was. Super cool experience.”
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Preslick said he typically dives near a reef called “Spanish Rocks” off the coast of Holmes Beach, one of the few shore dives in the Tampa Bay area, but for the diver, this experience was special as he said he’d “never been that close to a manatee.”