Manatee Love in Crystal River, Florida

Friends, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted… and there have been many travels in this time! And not only have I traveled, I gave up a smart phone for a year and recently re-adopted it. More on that to come.

To break the blog silence, I want to share photos from my most recent trip – a special one to celebrate the beginning of 29 and a gift from my wonderful boyfriend Abraham – swimming with manatees! We went to Crystal River, Florida, where the manatees congregate in cold months because of the toasty springs.

The educational tour company we went with was fabulous and I recommend them a million %. Captain Troy was our manatee-whisperer guide, as well as the brilliant photographer. Request him if you can!

When Abraham booked the trip, River Ventures recommended an early morning swim to avoid the crowds. We went very early (6:45am) and it was well worth it!

Sunrise over the water

Sunrise over the water

 

Foggy morning boat ride

Foggy morning boat ride

 

Noodles to float were a must – you didn't want to kick around and scare the manatees!

Noodles to float were a must – you didn’t want to kick around and scare the manatees!

 

One of the first sightings. The water was murky because manatees were rolling on the bottom – they are a playful bunch!

One of the first sightings. The water was murky because manatees were rolling on the bottom – they are a playful bunch!

 

I had heard that manatees can see into your soul, and I became convinced that's true. They make direct eye contact with humans, which reflects their gentle nature.

I had heard that manatees can see into your soul, and I became convinced that’s true. They make direct eye contact with humans, which reflects their gentle nature.

 

Here I'm desperately trying to keep my feet above water because there were so many manatees beneath us! Because the water was murky, we couldn't see them until they were nearly touching us.

Here I’m desperately trying to keep my feet above water because there were so many manatees beneath us! Because the water was murky, we couldn’t see them until they were nearly touching us.

 

See? That's soul-staring.

See? That’s soul-staring.

 

Manatee nails! They also liked to roll over in front of us so we could pet their bellies – just like puppies!

Manatee nails! They also liked to roll over in front of us so we could pet their bellies – just like puppies!

 

 

Once we found clearer water, it was easier to see what the manatees were doing. This one is sound asleep.

Once we found clearer water, it was easier to see what the manatees were doing. This one is sound asleep.

 

Sleeping with head down in the sand.

Sleeping with head down in the sand.

 

Floating to the surface for air.

Floating to the surface for air.

 

Mama and baby! (Co-sleeping, you could say...)

Mama and baby! (Co-sleeping, you could say…)

 

This. This is one of the most special moments we witnessed: a nursing calf.

This. This is one of the most special moments we witnessed: a nursing calf. This same baby, once he was full, came to play with our group. He rolled around and teased us, showing his belly, then swimming away, just to come back. An incredible experience!

 

My love with the best picture of the day!

My love with the best picture of the day!

 

What did I tell you? They love direct eye contact!

What did I tell you? They love direct eye contact!

 

Bye y'all – gotta go swim now!

Bye y’all – gotta go swim now!

Have you swum with manatees? What was your experience?

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Categories: Environment, Travel

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