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Manatees Crystal River Sept.-Oct.

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#1 Jock


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:58 AM


my wife and I will be staying in Florida late Sep /early Oct this year for 10 days. We would like to see the Keys (or maybe West Palm Beach) and the Tampa area (where we will visit relatives) during this time. Unfortunately, this is not a dive vacation, but we would like to get our head under water a couple of times.

My question: Is it worth giving the Crystal River area a try in the hope of seeing (and of course photographing) Manatees? From what I know it is too early. The tour operators, like Birds Underwater, say that they can find Manatees all year round - but hey, they want to make business, and we certainly would not go there for the vague chance to see one or two Manatees in the remote distance in murky water...

Any opinions from those of you who know more about this area? We have to decide soon if we stay for four days in the Keys/Palm Beach and one week near Tampa or vice versa. A genuine info about the Manatees might help in our decision - thanks a lot!

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#2 DiveMasterMark


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:31 PM

Hello Joerg,

Seagrant (Carol) is the resident manatee expert, but she is on a trip and I have no idea if she can respond to any inquiries.

I think you're too early for manatees. It takes a good bit of cold weather to get them congregating in the (relatively) warm waters of Crystal River and other wintering spots. January is generally the best time to find plenty of them around.

Several others can give you much more up-to-date recommendations of the West Palm area (Loftus??), but you might want to check out this thread (http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=24557) that discusses dive opportunities in both the Tampa and South Florida areas.

September will find me in the Keys and hopefully West Palm...

Have a great trip.

Edited by DiveMasterMark, 06 August 2008 - 01:35 PM.

It's all a matter of perspective...

#3 Perroneford


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 01:35 PM

The gulf is at it's warmest that time of year. Manatees have no reason to seek the waters of the springs. That said, they sometimes come into the inland areas anyway. So it's not like it's impossible you'll see Manatees, but they won't be as prevalent as they would in January through March/April.

#4 loftus


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Posted 06 August 2008 - 02:28 PM

I would not plan to make a trip up to Crystal River for manatees at that time of year; you are better off doing some diving around West Palm and the Keys. Manatees are pretty spread out that time of year still as the others have mentioned.
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#5 ce4jesus


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Posted 07 August 2008 - 03:46 PM

There are a few manatees which stay in/near the main springs year round but I understand they won't be as interactive. However, there are some very cool snorkelling and diving opportunities in fresh water caverns, clear rivers with 200ft viz that are also interesting activities.
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#6 shark6047



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Posted 09 August 2008 - 06:45 AM

My mom lives about 30 minutes from Crystal River and goes to see the Manatees year round. Others have stated they are less in numbers which is correct, however they are around. Going with one of the reputable guide services should enable you to view/photograph some manatees.
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#7 JoyfulNoise


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Posted 09 August 2008 - 01:11 PM

I live in Florida and didn't know the best time to see manatees was January-March. I was going to plan a trip down to snorkel with them this fall! Many thanks for the heads-up.

We dive West Palm Beach about once a month and I love: Bath & Tennis, Flower Gardens (both are drift dives) and last trip we got lucky and got to dive Gov. Walk, which is 4 ship wrecks kind of lined up together and it was a blast! Saw a huge grouper on the first wreck and others saw I think Lemon Sharks (not positive what kind of shark, memory isn't all that great!). But we've seen so much diving in West Palm Beach (we use Diving Solutions): turtles, huge eels, groupers, sharks, and even 2 dolphins one trip! I highly recommend WPB, any dive there is great!
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