I was at Crystal River in early May about 2 years ago. Most of the manatees had headed out to sea but a few were still around. A few comments:
- I can't remember the operator I went out with but as soon as my flash fired the first time, they started yelling at me that flashes were not allowed.
- Diving below the surface is definitely not allowed. I believe this is now a federal or state law.
- Do not wear gloves. Some manatees do like to be petted or rubbed. This is because they like to feel the warmth of your hands. If you wear gloves, they are likely to move on rather than beg for more contact.
- I lived in Tallahassee back in the '70s and went to this area on multiple occasions and had great interfaces with the manatees. The trip a few years ago was really disappointing for me. The river which was crystal clear back then now has a foot or so vis because of the algae growth from fertilizers going into the river. The springs are still clear but most of the river was a cesspool. A real shame that such a beautiful river has been allowed to be treated this way.