The first written record of manatees North America was in Christopher Columbus’ log of his voyage in 1492. He wrote of “female forms” rising out of the sea, “but they were not as beautiful as represented.” In those times, many folk tales and a lot of the maps of the era were riddled with depictions of mermaids, so it’s not that strange that a never-before-seen animal could be confused with the fabled mermaid or siren. Especially by a bunch of randy, malnourished, dehydrated dudes that have been on a boat for six weeks.
A more positive review from explorer John Smith, in the Caribbean circa 1691: “Her long green hair imparted to her an original character by no means unattractive.”
Smith even wrote that he had “begun to experience the first effects of love” when the dirty sea-slut turned over and showed him her fishy parts. This attraction could be down to a number of things; the popular body shape of women at the time was larger, women might not have been as attractive, manatees might have been taking better care of themselves back then, who knows.
Could you see yourself jumping overboard for some man-on-manatee action?