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manatee, three sisters spring

Manatee in Three Sisters Spring, Crystal River, Florida

Every winter, Hal and I take a trip to Crystal River, Florida and visit with one of our favorite species in the world: The Manatee. We stay in a hotel called the Port Hotel and Marina (see the lodging review page) which fronts directly on Kings Bay. From there we paddle our kayaks to the Three Sisters Spring about 30 minutes away. The Three Sisters is a natural spring, like many in the area, that pumps out 72 degree water all year round. This relatively warm water is what attracts the manatees in the cold winter months.

If you time your visit just right, when the tide is high and there are relatively few visitors, the water is crystal clear and the spring is full of manatees. Hal was mostly shooting video with his new GoPro® HD Hero2 camera and I was shooting stills with a Sea&Sea digital camera with underwater housing.

Hal happened to capture the moment that I swam near this manatee and it came up to take a breath right in front of me. You can view that video clip on the video page.

To learn more about our trip and how to see manatees, visit the travel diary.
– Cristina