Thursday, December 28, 2017

Crystal River Swimming With Manatees

Driving down to Ft. Lauderdale, we decided that we should take a detour and visit the Manatees again in the Crystal River. It had been 4 years since we last saw them and the ids have gotten older but were still very enthusiastic about interacting with these amazing creatures.

We again went with River Ventures and they again did a fantastic job. The first site was pretty low in the visibility department but we did see a mother Manatee and calf. Neither were very interested in interacting with people and you do not touch or interact with a Manatee without them interacting with you first.

So, we snorkled and hung in the water nearby and got to watch them come up to breathe and watch the mother nurse her baby and eat some seagrass, which was still pretty neat up close. The mom had to weigh at least 1,000 pounds and the baby was around 300 per our guide.

Ah, but the second site was crystal clear water right by a spring releasing gallons and gallons of clear water for wonderful visibility and it was magic.

I had just gotten off the boat when:

Yes, a baby manatee came right up to me, rubbed his whiskers against my face and decided to have fun with me and the rest of the group.

He really found the camera interesting as well and seemed to pose on purpose for it.

This was very cool. The mom was nearby and apparently figured we were offering free daycare as she just relaxed unconcerned on the bottom and let the calf roam around a pretty solid distance from her playing with all of us. He enjoyed nudging each swimmer and getting a rub in return (one open hand only per the rules, and only after the manatee touches you can you touch it).

After playing for a good long time, he then swam away to his mom for a break and a snack.

Yes, that's the calf nursing from his mom.

He was a very playful and inquisitive Manatee, and it was an awesome experience to hang out with him. We all loved visiting again with these truly magnificent creatures.


The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

Never swam with the manatees,but I've seen a bunch of them. My wife grew up a half hour from Crystal River, so I know the area well. It's a nice slice of "Old Florida". Glad you enjoyed it!

Aaron said...

Thanks, it was a pretty darn awesome experience. Old Florida is nice - the people and the places around there were great.