In November 2009 before the DEMA (Dive Equipment Manufacturer Association) Show, in Orlando, Florida, Randy and I rented a car and drove across Florida to Crystal River. Our purpose was to snorkel with manatees. We did the manatee tour with Bird’s Manatee Tours and were really happy with them. Captain Chris went out of her way to find us adult and even a couple of baby manatees.
Unfortunately it wasn’t cold enough for the manatees to be in the springs in great number and we had to search hard to find any at all. But we did and they were really amazing, big gentle creatures who just wanted to eat and sleep and didn’t really want to get their picture taken. We were only allowed to snorkel with the manatees and had to be very careful how we approached them as they were quite timid especially mothers with calf. Although the calf itself was quite curious. As you will see in the images the river was really green, again due to the warmer temperature of the water. While on the river we also photographed birds and even some dolphins that were hunting!
While we were in Crystal River we walked on the Great Florida Birding Trail and visited Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. It was interesting to see the animals and birds in the park but also made me a little sad to see the beautiful wild creatures stuck in small pens and cages. I would have preferred to find them out in the wild in their natural environment.
Some day we will go back in January or February when it is colder, there are more manatees and the water is clearer. I will take my drysuit though as they only rent 3 mm wetsuits and even in warm November I got quite cold while in the water.
Enjoy the images.