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Curious manatee curls up to a transparent canoe

Manatee curls up to clear canoe in Tampa Bay

Michael McCarthy, owner of the company See Through Canoe in St. Petersburg, has taken footage of marine animals that come up to his canoe over the past few years. He has seen manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and sting rays. Video used with permissi
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Michael McCarthy, owner of the company See Through Canoe in St. Petersburg, has taken footage of marine animals that come up to his canoe over the past few years. He has seen manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and sting rays. Video used with permissi

If there’s ever a good reason to have a clear-bottom canoe, this is it.

On Dec. 17, the company See Through Canoe posted a video from the previous day to its Facebook page of a curious manatee rolling underneath the canoe in Tampa Bay.

It was just another day on the job for Michael McCarthy, owner of See Through Canoe. Over the past year, he’s taken videos more frequently to show off his canoes, but also because he simply likes to do it.

“That’s by far the best part of what I do,” he said over the phone Wednesday.

He has seen the manatee with a split tail seen in the Dec. 17 video at least twice a year for the past three years.

“Every time I see that particular manatee, she comes up to me like a long lost friend,” he said.

The animals always come up to him, he said. McCarthy said he doesn’t chase marine animals, as it’s illegal to harass protected marine mammals.

According to the Facebook post, which has gained over 4,000 views, McCarthy saw about 75 manatees and four of them swam up to check out the canoe, rolling over and sliding along the bottom.

More recently, a pod of dolphins came up to play with the canoes for over 30 minutes, according to the post. Of course, the action was caught on video, almost as if the dolphins were ready for their closeup.

See Through Canoe has been selling their $1,900, 44-pound Lexan canoes since 2007. They can be rented with See Through Adventures. While they’re 10 times the price of a regular kayak or canoe currently on the market, it might be the best way to see dolphins, manatees and even sea turtles up close.

“I love sharing those kinds of moments with people,” he said.

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse

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