This shit was too fun to only do once. I went with my bud Carrie a few years ago using American Pro Diving Center, and this time my current love interest and I went out with Manatee Tour and Dive. It was an incredible experience both times, but I felt that MT&D was stricter about protecting the manatees’ personal space so I like that better. MT&D is located in King’s Bay, and the tour boat goes out from their dock right behind the building.
The ride over to the springs was beautiful with manatees and fish swimming next to the boat.
Unlike American Pro, with MT&D we all wore pool noodles around our waists to help keep us floating at the surface with the ability to use just our hands to maneuver smoothly through the water. This helped us to avoid disturbing manatees that were sleeping on the bottom or from swimming into one as they feed.
We swam in Jurassic Spring, and there were dozens of manatees in this one area. One came up and swam between my legs, startling the fuck out of me. My current love interest also had a panic attack after we got into the spring, which was hilarious. The combination of these gentle giants surrounding him, the ice cold water, and the constricted movement just caused him to freak out and I loved it. Who’s scared of a manatee? They’re calmer than a bowl of pudding. Fortunately he got his shit together and doggy paddled like a pro.
Each of those lumps is a manatee. Shit’s nuts.
I can’t get enough of snorkeling in Florida springs. Maybe one day I’ll dive, but for now the freedom of just plopping in the water and seeing all this stuff swimming around in the tropical waters and clear springs is satisfying enough for me. Would go again.
While in the area we also did one on the trails in the Crystal River Preserve State Park, the Churchhouse Hammock Trail. The state park as a whole is huge with many different t trail access points. This just happened to be one that we passed so we stopped for a peek. It’s short, but no one was there and it’s completely shaded by the hammock so it was a nice walk. I’d like to check out more of the park next time I’m in that area.