Saturday, December 17, 2011

Swimming with the Manatees 12.17.11

After 4 full, and I do mean full, days at Disney World we took it easy for a couple days.  Well, as easy as possible with Mom & Dad!  Haha…   We took off Geocaching on Friday and had a great system going, picking up about 20 caches in an afternoon.  Saturday morning we ran some errands & picked up a few more caches before heading back to the condo to pack everything up and get ready for the road trip to Texas (and my folks back to Kansas). 


But we had one more thing on our list to do before leaving Florida – go to Crystal Springs and swim with the Manatees.   Woohoo!

We signed up with Capt. Mike’s Sunshine River Tours and had a wonderful Captain, Capt. Donna who took a group of 12 out to the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge area.  The Manatees flock to this area as there are warm water springs that remains a constant 72 degrees and since they carry so little body fat, can only survive in water temps above 68 degrees. 

After suiting up in wetsuits (an experience/show all in itself, huh, Mom?!  I know, we said we wouldn’t talk about that…haha!) we watched the mandatory ‘don’t harass the Manatees’ videos and jumped onto a pontoon boat to go out to the sanctuary.

Arriving outside the King Spring we jumped in the lukewarm water out to the Keyhole, between two sanctuary markers.  We swam over to the area and watched & waited.  Finally our patience paid off – we had several encounters.  The first was a mother and her calf, who was nursing. 

A mother
and her calf Manatee

A mother
and her calf Manatee

The Michael and Mom had one playing with them….

A mother
and her calf Manatee

This one loved getting it’s back rubbed and, just like a dog, would roll over onto it’s back and have you rub its belly!

A mother
and her calf Manatee

A mother
and her calf Manatee

The whole experience was so amazing!  There were hundreds of Manatees in the water, nearly everywhere you looked you saw more.  Michael even kicked one on his swim back to the boat.  Doh!  :-)  I was frozen after being in the water for an hour or so, so much so that I was shivering and Mom was having an asthma episode so we went back to the boat. 

Ah…mazing.  Wow…

More to follow…


Blogger Sandy Hayes said...

That was the most fantastic experience of my life!! An incredible adventure. Thanks Rene and Michael for suggesting it.
Love you, Mom

January 3, 2012 at 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now you two (four) are having an incredible adventure! The pictures are so good. We cannot wait for more of your adventures. John & Deb

January 4, 2012 at 7:47 AM  

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