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14 In Florida/ Travel

Swimming with Manatees- Crystal River, Florida

Manatees have been one of my favorite animals of all time, but I had never really thought about swimming with them. For Christmas, though, I received the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: United States and Canada and that was one of the things in there, so I booked myself a manatee swimming adventure in Crystal River, Florida with River Ventures.  I was absolutely thrilled with my experience with them.  It was crazy cheap!  Only 45 dollars for over two hours with the Manatees!

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When I arrived they were really welcoming, gave me a pastry for breakfast and showed me to the room for the informational video about the experience.  After the video they handed out the wetsuits for us to put on (wetsuit, snorkel and masks are included in the $45).  We rode out on the boat to a spring where there were a couple dozen manatees.  There were other tours there, but our guide was really great and got us to an area with less people.   IMG_4712

My first view of a wild manatee

I got down in the water, and immediately had a minor freak-out.  I was suddenly very conscious of the fact that I was there alone, I hated that I couldn’t see my feet and I started thinking about what these manatees would actually be like face-to-face, and I honestly had to get back out of the water for a minute.  (Pretty sad, I know) However, the guide was really awesome and talked me down and swam next to me for the first few minutes, and made sure that I got some really great one-on-one time with the manatees.

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Seeing this beautiful animal swimming towards me was a bit intimidating, and I was completely clenching my teeth so hard that I was pretty sure that I was going to bite through the snorkel, but as soon as I touched these beautiful animals I was even more in love.

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Me taking a photo of this beautiful animal

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Me touching a manatee

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Face-to-face

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Giving the manatee kisses.  They were so incredibly playful and very curious.  They always approached us, one grabbed my arm with its little flipper, and they would nibble on people’s hair (those with long hair).  It was unbelievable!  Seriously a childhood dream come true.

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A face only a mother could love… 

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Having a blast in Crystal River, Florida 

I seriously could not have asked for a better manatee experience, and I would highly recommend anyone anywhere near the area to swim with these beautiful, graceful and docile creatures.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    equinoxio21
    April 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Hey Paige! Wow! Wonderful experience.
    We saw manatees in Belize (another recommendable destination to add to your list) but diving and swimming with them was out. We later swam and snorkeled with sleeping sharks (harmless) on another Key of Belize.
    I think the manatees we saw from the boat were a bit “shy”? Many had scars on their head and body, injuries produced by the propellers of too many careless boats. 🙁
    Anyway. your was a Great experience. (I´ll put it on my own list!)
    Be good 🙂
    Brian

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      April 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      This is, apparently, the only place in the US that you can legally swim with them because they are so endangered because of boats… Crazy! I hate that the ones in Belize were all scarred up; that breaks my heart! I’m excited to finally add something to your list 😉 Thanks for the Belize tip!

  • Reply
    equinoxio21
    April 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Hey again! Can I reblog this? I’d love to but couldn’t find the reblog button…
    Brain

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      April 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      I’m not sure how I can get that back up there! I just recently switched to WordPress.org, and I haven’t figured everything out, yet. Sorry! I’ll work on trying to find that and let you know when it’s up, though. I would be honored if you reblogged my post! 🙂

      • Reply
        equinoxio21
        April 3, 2014 at 5:40 pm

        The honour would be mine! Do try, but I understand it can be tricky. I still haven’t figured put half of WordPress functions I think. Working on it. 🙂
        Be good!

        • Reply
          PaigeBrown
          April 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm

          Apparently, there is no direct reblog function in WordPress.org. I’m sorry! :/ I wish you could simply reblog it!

          • equinoxio21
            April 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm

            Too bad one can’t reblog! Thanks for trying.
            Have a nice week-end
            Brian

  • Reply
    liz
    April 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    So proud of you, Paige! What an amazing experience and I am so glad to finally see your awesome photos! xoxo

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      April 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks, Liz! It was truly an incredible experience! I would love to do it again- now that I’m over the mild fear! Haha!

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  • Reply
    John
    April 13, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    That experience just looks all kinds of awesome, and you covered it with some great photos!

    • Reply
      PaigeBrown
      April 20, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks, John! It was really incredible, and I highly recommend using River Ventures! Thanks for the compliments and for reading!

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