We had the pleasure last week to dive with the manatees of Crystal River. It is always such fun to see them, especially the mothers with their young babies. Thankfully with the beautiful days and warmer temperatures the numbers of manatees at Three Sisters Spring were still plentiful; unfortunately almost every manatee we encountered, even the youngest calves, had some sort of prop scar on them. This was disheartening to see, especially knowing the increased awareness and education Florida has attempted when it comes to protecting the Florida Manatee.
On a brighter note, we were impressed with the respect and treatment of the manatees by the majority of the snorkelers and boat captains out and around Kings Spring. I say majority, as we encountered a private boat with a father and his family who were down right awful and rude to the Manatee Watch Volunteers at Three Sisters. Linda from Manatee Watch was incredibly gracious, professional and steadfast in her dealings with this difficult individual, she deserves a metal of honor for it. Huge kudos to you Linda!! Another individual I'd like to commend is Glenn Wilsey, who brought out several groups to swim with the manatees. Glen not only took the time to get into the water with his customers, he proceeded to educate them about proper encountering techniques, manatee biology and the conservation efforts in regards to the manatee. This is something we had not seen from another boat captain while visiting Three Sisters. It was wonderful to see and I hope more companies in the area will follow suit!
We are looking forward to taking another group of divers out next week to encounter these gentle giants of Crystal River.