Crystal River, Florida

On our way to the Everglades, we had the amazing opportunity to visit the town of Crystal River. If only for a night, it is definitely one of my most memorable places. I got swim with manatees!

The tour I was on had our family and another that was on vacation here. Everyone watched an orientation video that covered the rules and guidelines for our swim. The manatees migrate up this river in the winter to graze in warmer waters. After we were all wet suited up, a short boat ride took us to a part of the river where several other tours were swimming. There was probably about, 100 or so manatees floating around.

Nicknamed sea-cows, manatees are just that: the cows of the sea. Enormous gray beasts, manatees are about the size of an actual cow. They have two front flippers, and one large tail. Because they are not all that active, one of the things we could do with them was scratch the algae off their tough skinned backs.

I drifted around the river, careful not enter the area marked off for resting manatees. Most of the sea-cows stayed in the restricted area, but ten or so swam amount us, almost playing with us. I scratched algae and petted their adorable faces for around forty-five minutes. I wish I could go again! I had never experienced anything like that before!

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