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There was only one reason I was visiting crystal rivers, it’s the only place in the world you’re allowed to swim with manatees!  I hadn’t been expecting to have already seen them near Daytona beach, and after was wondering if the trek to crystal rivers would be worth it.  It’s only around three hours from Daytona beach by car, but my trip was going to take thirteen hours by three buses!  But I’d already paid for buses, hotels and tours, so I was going.

I had a six hour wait at Tampa, though fortunately I was able to leave my bags in storage and take a leisurely walk around the waterfront.  My final bus dropped me off a bit beyond crystal rivers than I was expecting.  A lot of people would have opted for trying to get a taxi.  I just trudged all the way back with all my bags on.

My room at crystal rivers was the most expensive accommodation I’d bought on the entire trip.  There were no active couch surfing hosts in the area and no hostels either, so a large room with double bed and its own kitchen and bathroom it was.  Considering it’s both the most luxurious spacious room I’ve had yet on this trip and the most expensive I wish I had the time to enjoy it more, but I arrived at 8:30pm and my manatee swim started at 7:15 am, so there wasn’t.

The freshwater springs attract a lot of manatees during the winter months.  Manatees don’t move fast, so we weren’t so much swimming with manatees as floating with them.  Their most popular area is fenced off to give them some peace, but some of them are not shy at all, and ventured into the area we were floating in.  They’re big creatures, and close enough to reach out and touch if we’d been allowed!


frog blue

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