Diving With The Manatees
Diving with the manatees seems to be dwindling fast as new regulations and rules take effect. The population of Florida manatees is believed to be less than 7,000. Majority of the manatees are hosts to nasty scars caused by boat propellers. Florida has strict rules regarding interacting or harassing manatees. Prior to diving with the manatees you should become familiar with these rules. Manatees live to be around 55 years old with the cows giving birth to a single offspring, about every 5 years.
Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River
Manatees start to congregate in the warmer springs around mid November and remain, until mid March. With a constant temperature of 72 degrees, Three Sisters Springs in citrus county is one of the top manatee dive locations in Florida. It is here on the coldest of days that manatees congregate in mass numbers and the best photographic opportunities exist. A diver can expect to see numerous cows and calfs in waters as shallow as 4 feet.
Citrus County is actually the only place in the United States where diving with the manatees is legal. In the winter months, about 1/5 of the Florida manatee population can be found thriving in the warm water springs. Although winter is the best time to see manatees in mass, hundreds still call the springs and rivers here home in the Spring and Summer.
For divers desiring to get the most out of their trip, a quick “Google” will lead you to a vast array of guides and tours. Some are better than others and all promise the experience of a lifetime.