Posted by: mckenzie68 | June 14, 2010

Crystal River and their manatees…June 13/14 or Days 56/57

8 am came early, and both of us were really tired from the prior day’s ride.  But, we knew the heat was going to be waiting for us, so we grabbed some breakfast and proceeded to pack up the bikes and head out.  It was already 31 degrees and very very humid by the time we set our wheels in motion.

It was pleasant driving on a Sunday morning as there was not much traffic.  And to make it even better once we were off Interstate 10 (we took 19 South) the traffic was even less!  There was not much for scenery as the road was lined with rows of very large trees.  The downside was that the road was arrow straight for miles, and I am sure it was as long or longer than the ET highway…but more boring as there was literally nothing to see except the occasional dead armadillo…and trees, lots of trees.

We arrived at our destination, the HIE in Crystal River at around 1230.  Being off the road early was so nice!  The clerk got us an awesome corner room on the top floor, and lots of good advice regarding the Manatee tours, Key West, etc.  The only thing to do now is relax and enjoy the day…tomorrow the Manatees!  Yay!


So today, we swam with the manatees…and lots of algae!  Captain Doreen took us out and about and we did indeed find the manatees, but the water was so darn green with algae it was tough to see then clearly.  Those creatures are really amazing.  They can grow up to something like 14 feet and 1500 lbs, and I can believe it after seeing them.  The one was eating and came up for a breath of air right in front of my mask.  I can tell you that it was a bit shocking with that murky water!  Ray was able to get really close to one eating  off the side of the canal which was very cool.  From what Doreen told us, the algae came in a couple of years ago with a nasty storm and has basically taken over.  It such a shame as the water that used to be crystal clear is now murky and green in most places.  They even have this boat that has a wheel that reminds one of the old paddle boats…but is used to pick up the algae that is floating.  That stuff is like hair and drain clogging grossness…that’s the only way I can describe it.

Otherwise, Cap’n Doreen also took us to the ‘Three Sisters’ which are these fresh water springs in the canal – and where the manatees hang out during the winter.  That area is still crystal clear and lovely.  It’s very secluded.  Nice.

Our day ended with a walk down to a local pub where we had some good food, beverages and met some really nice locals.  It was really a great day…and that was a good thing because tomorrow we have a long ride to Key Largo.




  1. Hi! We swimm with manatees in the same tour with you, I love to have some of the cool pics you have taken! It was an awesome experience, thank you for sharing your camera 😉

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