Two Marshall Countians vacationing out-of-state had cool encounters with wild critters recently.

Dr. Chris Harper, the Guntersville dentist, was vacationing at the beach in Destin over the Labor Day weekend. He was paddleboarding when a huge manatee swam right next to him. 

His wife Carol Harper had her own encounter the previous day. She was on a paddleboard when a large sea turtle swam by her.

Jimmy and Mary Lois Hart were vacationing in the Gatlinburg this week when a mama bear came up to their cabin and just hung out for awhile. It didn't seem threatening and Mary got right beside it, although it was in the yard and she was on the deck.

Jimmy is a former longtime National Guardsman in Marshall County who served in both Guntersville and Arab. 

"This mama bear showed up at our cabin our first day here with two of her cubs," Jimmy said. "She returned the next day with three cubs. We were talking and whistled at them and they just hung around for about five minutes before the mama bear could get the cubs to leaves us. It made our trip. Of course we were on the deck with rails between us and the bears and the door open for a fast getaway."

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