Crystal Springs, Florida


Daina and I

My family went on a week long vacation over Christmas. Just like the movies we were skipping out on on all the Christmas hoopla. We decided to skip the presents, dinner and family this year and head to Florida. We are staying on Siesta Key and all arriving separately. On the way down my plan is to go to one of Florida’s beautiful springs.

Daina and I drove down together. We skipped Ginny Springs and headed to Crystal River. In hind site I wished we would of went to Ginny Springs because we could have snorkeled in the spring. At Crystal River it is manatee migration time and the spring is full of manatees that came for the warmer water and is a manatee protection zone during the winter. No one is allowed into the spring during migration time. The water is warmer here because it is a spring. It stays 72 degrees year round.

We opted for a swim with the manatees tour. We used Fun2Dive. That way we would get a wetsuit a ride and a guide. We took the tour and went by boat to an area just outside a protected zone. This is why the water is more cloudy in my photos. They gave us a noodle to keep us afloat. There were tons of people in there. There was also lots of manatees. They seamed to enjoy the people. There were ropes all around that we were not allowed to go past. I guess if the manatees got tired of people they could leave and go behind the ropes. The manatees seams to like people and came out to swim near people. I would say on purpose. Our guide had one hold onto his leg for at least 15 minutes while we all rubbed it. He said they like when people scratch where the barnacles are!

I was just laying on my back floating taking a break when a manatee came under me and skimmed me. It was very cool. The guide was great setting up face to face photos. We stayed out there a long time. It was an incredible experience.

After that tour Daina and I went to a park down the street and put out kayaks in and paddled around toward the spring. We saw a lot more manatees. We floated over them. They seam so gentle. I guess that is why they call them gentle giants. Kind of like big lovable dogs.

We had a blast. I would highly recommend this trip and really can’t wait to do it again!

It was a great Christmas Eve. We headed south to Siesta Key from here.

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