Video of his appearance garners strong attention
The Bonnet Carre Spillway is a known haven for crabs and fish – and now, perhaps, the occasional manatee?
That was indeed the case recently, as discovered by Paul Trimmier of Norco and his girlfriend Angie Vicknair of LaPlace, who saw a mammoth shadow beneath the surface of the water as they were wrapping up a crabbing outing.
“At first, I thought it was a huge snapper turtle, since they move from the muddy part out to clear water. And then suddenly, ‘Holy crap, it’s a manatee!’” Trimmier said. “He was every bit of 13 to 14 feet long. We’re in a 17-foot boat, he was nearly as long as the boat.”
He said the manatee went under and crossed in front of their boat and glided along near the bank before going down into deeper water.
Both Trimmier and Vicknair said they’d not seen anything like that in the Spillway before, notable because they’ve long ventured there for bass fishing and crabbing
“I try to be out there at least once a week,” Trimmier said. “Sometimes I’m out there every week when I have time.
“It was wild, amazing to see for us. I basically grew up at the Spillway and never thought I’d see something like that, a huge thing just show up. I’ve seen sharks, some huge garfish and some huge snapper turtles, but you’d never think you’d see a manatee in the Spillway.”
Vicknair said it was a sight to see.
“It was exciting, but at the same time you just had this feeling of ‘Oh my God,’” she said. “I never thought I’d get to see one of those things.”
She was on the spot as well, taking a video of the creature with her phone—a video that has garnered a ton of attention.
“People are kind of going crazy over it,” Trimmier said. “Almost all the comments have been positive … people are amazed by it. You see a couple of negative comments. One guy said it was fake news, there’s no way a manatee is in the Spillway. No, it’s not fake news. You see him right by the boat on the video.”
Of course, Trimmier could relate to the skepticism, somewhat.
“I’ve always poked fun at those signs out there that say ‘Warning, possibility of manatees.’ Ah, you’ll never see a manatee here, I thought,” he said. “So I got a lot of comments from people I know about that. I talk about how you’d never see one and of course I’m the one who sees one.”
They reported the sighting to Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and sent the video in. The LDWF responded and noted to them that the same manatee was also seen near Madisonville.