Jacksonville, FL iROCKER Fan Nancie Lott Searches for Manatees at Fort De Soto State Park with the Help of Her Faithful Pooch
Every SUP-er has a special moment they’ve experienced on their board. Sometimes these moments can be life-changing, like that one time when a group of SUP-ers started their expedition expecting calm waters but were shocked by rough rapids instead!
Not every life-changing SUP experience is scary, but they are probably all awesome.
One story in particular took place in Northeast Florida about a month ago. There are lots of iROCKER fans from Florida, and lots of stories to be told, but this one will make SUP-ers all over want to grab their boards and go out for a paddling adventure.
Nancie Lott is from the Jacksonville, Florida, area and so is her cute paddle pooch, Maggie. Maggie is the kind of dog that wants to be out on the water all the time, which is lucky for her because so does her mum!
Maggie knows when Nancie is planning to go out on her iROCKER, and she knows her mum will always bring her along. She becomes uncontrollable, shaking her tail so fast it’s hardly visible! She runs to the front door and barks eagerly until it’s finally time to go.
This is a pretty common thing for Nancie and Maggie, who spend the majority of their free time sharing space on the iROCKER.
Northeast Florida is perfect for iSUP. The beach spans from the north to the south from Fernandina to Vilano Beach. As if the beaches themselves aren’t spectacular enough, the historic city of St Augustine, known for being the oldest and first city in the U.S., is adjacent to Vilano Beach.
Okay so maybe the weather isn’t flawless. They get some blazing summers and chilly winters (well, chilly for Florida). Other than that, the weather is impeccable.
Besides perfect weather, Northeast Florida also has beautiful inland waterways to offer, specifically the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s nothing short of marvelous with its salt marshes and seagrass.
The ponds and lakes in Florida might not be as far-reaching, but they’re just as serene. Each body of water has its own unique ecosystem that will stun any observer if they’re patient and lucky enough.
Nancie was one of the lucky ones. Her pal, Steve, invited her out one morning to paddle and picnic with their pups at Fort De Soto State Park. Before she could even say yes, Maggie was at the door ready to go.
Nancie says they started paddling between the mangroves and made their way toward the Skyway Bridge. After wandering around some oyster beds, they were shocked to come face to face with a bonnethead shark. Don’t worry, it was just a baby.
Nancie and her pals paddled on, excited for what they might run into next. Shortly after, they ran into some other pals who were riding in kayaks. The water lovers all decided to join together and continue on their path.
It wasn’t long before Nancie turned around to realize her furry friend was fascinated by something in the water. Maggie looked like a statue standing at the board’s nose, staring firmly at an aggregation of sea cows! The manatee family seemed just as happy to be a part of the group as everyone else!
The sea cows were drawn to the iSUPS, hanging around and colliding with them at times. They probably thought it was just another manatee!
Nancie says one of the sea cows bumped her with more force than she expected. She probably would have fallen over if she wasn’t a SUP pro. She knew to drop to a seated position immediately to keep her balance.
“He was actually pulling on my fin at one point in a totally playful way,” Nancie says.
“It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had,” she adds. “Times like these are why I carry my iROCKER everywhere with me. If I can find water, I’m going in!”
If you’ve had an amazing encounter with your iROCKER, we’d like to hear about it! Describe your awesome adventure in the spaces below, and remember to send us your selfies and other photos with your iSUP!