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By Tannisha Scarlett

Holidays were the most enjoyable times of Christopher’s life because he got a chance to spend time with his favourite Uncle Ken. Uncle Ken always had something fun and interesting to do. 

As he ran home from playing at his friend Collin’s house he let his mind run wild. What had Uncle Ken planned for him this holiday? 

Later, while Chris was at the dinner table, his mother went outside.  After a while she called him, “Chris look who is here to see you?”

When Chris went outside he saw Uncle Ken.  He jumped on him and gave him a big hug. Uncle Ken then took him inside and told him they were going to have lots of fun today.

“Where are we going?” asked Chris.

“It’s a surprise!” his uncle answered.

They left the house and after a long journey in Uncle Ken’s car they were finally there.  Chris was very excited about what he was going to see and do, and even though he had no idea what it was, he was very happy. When they arrived, Uncle Ken explained that they were in Canoe Valley in Clarendon. Uncle Ken took out the food he had brought with him for them both and they sat on a chair at the picnic site and began to eat.  While they were eating his uncle told him about the main attraction that could be found at Canoe Valley. This, he said were the two manatees that people came from all over the island to see, but because they were shy and hardly ever showed themselves, many people had never seen them, even after many visits.

“But you may see them today if you are lucky,” Uncle Ken said.

“Uncle Ken, what are manatees?” asked Chris.

Uncle Ken replied, “Have you ever seen a cow, Chris?”

“Yes Uncle Ken,”

“Manatees look a little like cows. Their heads and bodies are equal size, they have a blue colour and they move very slowly and gracefully.”

“Are they dangerous?” asked Chris.

“No, they are called “friends of humans” because it is said that manatees help humans if they see them drowning and they will guide ships.

“Yes Uncle Ken, I remember now, in class my teacher was telling us about the manatees, she said that we are to take care of them.  Is it because they help us?”

“Yes but that is not the only reason. You see there aren’t a lot of manatees around and we have to save the few that are left. Right at this very spot there are hired rangers who feed the manatees to ensure that they don’t get hungry and die.”

“Oh, now I know why my teacher told us to take care of them.  If she asks again in class I can answer her.”

When Chris ran off to play near the river with the ball that was in his bag he heard a noise coming from the water. He looked down and saw something looking like a fish but it was very large.  He looked carefully and then he remembered the description that his uncle and his teacher gave him.  Another close look and he realized that he was looking at a manatee!  He was so excited.  He was looking at two real manatees eating. He called his uncle who was a distance away, but remembering that his uncle told him how shy the manatees are, he tiptoed to him so he did not scare them away. 

“Uncle Ken… Uncle Ken, look… look!”

 When Uncle Ken heard him he walked over with him to find out what he was talking about. When he got there, Chris said. “There are the manatees!”  His uncle started to laugh when he saw the joy on his nephew’s face. 

“You are a lucky boy.” 

Christopher watched until the manatee left and then went for something to eat. When Uncle Ken told him that it was time to go home he thought he would take one more look at the manatees. He turned around and they were all gone!  He was slightly disappointed but still happy because he had got a very good look at them. 

On the way back home, all Chris could talk about was the manatees he saw and how he would tell his friends, mother and especially his best friend Collin, about what they looked like and all the fun he had all day at Canoe Valley.





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