Swimming with Manatees Near Orlando Florida

Last Wednesday morning my wife, 2 kids, and nanny went to Orlando, Florida. While there, my wife talked me into driving 2 hours away to the Crystal River so we could swim with the manatees.

Now, I had no clue what a manatee was. I thought it was like a sea lion or something… I had no idea how fricking big they were.

This place we went to swim with them was legit too. No cages or anything. These things are in the wild.

Before we got started, our captain, Captain Joe, told us there were only 28 in the area and there was a really good possibility we could scout around all day and never find any.

The first couple hours we didn’t see anything and were chasing shadows.

Then Captain Joe found this little one scooting around. It was a smaller one but still a good 6 ft long and probably 600 lbs or so:

We got in the water a ways down from him and he swam up to us. Then I swam with him for a while. Well, more like floated around him while he ate grass. He was so big. It was pretty crazy:

We saw quite a few bigger ones during the day. It’s like swimming with a real-life wild submarine.

Here is a picture Captain Joe took of me close to one with his underwater camera:

manatee tour

In the end, I am super happy my wife talked me into going. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

If you ever want to swim with the manatees in Crystal River, I highly recommend you go out with Captain Joe. Tell him you want the ShoeMoney special rate 😉

Here is their website.