Surprise visitor surfaces at a Windmill Point pier

A manatee made his way into the Chesapeake Bay and the Rappahannock River over the weekend where he enjoyed a drink of fresh water at the dock of Jason Holder at Windmill Point. Photo by Jason Holder

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Jason Holder and his family and neighbors at Windmill Point received a rare treat when Holder and his crew returned from fishing on Sunday, August 13. While washing his boat, he looked down to see an 11-foot manatee drinking the fresh water streaming from the motor.

“Look at this thing, drinking my water,” he yelled on a video he uploaded to his social media page. “I had no idea we had those things here.”

The Florida manatee is a large, gray aquatic mammal that occasionally visits the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow waters in the summer. But the visits and sightings are few.

Holder reported the sighting to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, which instructed him not to give the manatee fresh water because “if you feed it water, it’ll stay around,” said Holder. And that could be dangerous for the warm-water creature when the bay’s temperatures start to lower in late fall.

Holder had spent three days cobia fishing and says he always flushes the motor and washes….