Snorkelling with manatee at Crystal River

Manatee 1One of the best days out on holiday this year was when we took a day trip with Florida Dolphin Tours.  One of the main parts of the day was getting the opportunity to go snorkelling with the wild manatee in their natural environment on the Crystal River.

Crystal RiverWe boarded our boat, clad in a wetsuit with snorkel and mask and headed out to look for signs of manatee life.  Our boat guide told us about the area and about the work being done to help protect the manatee.  He also warned us some of what to expect when we encountered them.  The mum’s are quite happy to let us ‘babysit’ their babies for a while!  He also warned us that the manatees would be quite likely to ‘hug’ us and come nose to nose with our masks – a cheeky few apparently also swipe them off your face.

Scratching the manateeWe got in and out of the boat a few times at first in different locations, and saw a few manatees but none that were hanging around for long.  The water at this time of year was actually quite warm, but the visibility was poor so it was easy to spot life from the surface.

After a while though we did manage to find a mother and baby manatee and got to spend a lot of time with them.  They absolutely love it if you scratch their back and sides, and they roll over to let you tickle their tummies!

I did take my underwater camera as you can see from this picture but it wasn’t easy to take shots because they were so close.  In the end I just pointed the camera in the right direction and pressed the button a few times and did end up with a few to remember my trip by.  The rest can be found on my Florida Flickr set.

It was a fabulous experience and one I would definately recommend – I believe the manatee are more plentiful earlier in the year, and the water clearer, although colder!

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One Response to “Snorkelling with manatee at Crystal River”

  1. Florida Manatee Adventure Tour « Helena’s Blog Says:

    […] Helena’s Blog « Snorkelling with manatee at Crystal River […]

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