Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 19 - Crystal river

After checking out from our motel in Orlando we were faced with a dilemma. We really wanted to go do a manatee-swim but all the operators of manatee-tours we had spoken with said that you might see manatees or you might not see manatees. Big thunderstorms were heading towards the west coast so our plan b was to head to the east coast so at least we would get the sun. Nevertheless, after searching frantically after operators I got on the phone with Captain Mike in Crystal rivers. When I asked him if they had seen any manatees on their last tours he paused for a minute as if I said something really dumb and replied, - I see manatees 7 days a week. That was all the answer we needed and we set course for Crystal river on the Florida northwest coast. We were hit pretty bad by the storms driving up there and some parts it felt like driving into a waterfall, but victory will come to those who prevail! Finally on arriving in Crystal river we found a great best western which is a medium budget hotel that even if slightly over our budget for motel nights has all the conveniences you could wish for.

We spent the day and afternoon chilling in our room and finally got some laundry done as well.  At night we headed out to see what was in our surrounding area and was surprised to hear live music as soon as we headed out the door. Turns out we were neighbors with a restaurant that had a outdoor tiki bar next to the water. On stage in the bar was an awesome cover band, and even though I most of the times cant stand such acts these guys were really good! We had a chat with bass player Jim in the pause. He told us that now was "scallopping" season, why so many people were there to fish for scallops. And there were actually loads of people everywhere. Seemed only we were the ones there for the manatees.

Come next morning we struggled a little to get up at six but were soon in the car on the way to the marina by Kings Bay. When we got on the boat the rain hit pretty bad, but it was quite cosy sitting in your wetsuit with a hot cup of coffee and hearing the rain against the roof. As we came out to the snorkeling area the weather brightened up and when we got in the water for the first time the rain had stopped all together. The manatee population in kings bay consists of about 50 - 60 habitats that remain all year, with another 200 or so that go out in the ocean during summer and return in the winter. At first in the water you are told to float on the surface in a "dead mans pose" so that the manatee comes to you instead of you trying to chase after it. The rain had made the water a bit cloudy so visibility wasn't the greatest. So it was quite scary at first when out of nowhere a big shadow approaches you. However as soon as you calm down they are AMAZING! Like some kind of prehistoric creature that drifts pass you in the water. If you are lucky enough, and we were,  they will take an interest in you and come up right next to you. If you pet them some of them rolls over and wants you to scratch their bellies. They are almost like dogs. We absolutely loved doing this and we will most def come back to do it again. The pictures didn't come out to well but we have some amazing video that I'll upload as soon as I have better internet connection. 


  1. Att pilla på sjökor förefaller vara något helt annat än att pilla på skökor...
    Hälsa Bondbruden med snorkeln!

  2. Hej

    Ni ska väl strax ge er iväg nu tillbka till Sverige. Hoppas ni får en skön och säker resa tillbaka. Verkar som ni har haft en härlig tid!