Before we got ready to start the 2019 grind, the kids had one more Christmas present. Julie and I planned a trip to Florida where the kids could swim with manatees. Some friends from church agreed to show us the ropes and set us up with their favorite guide. I went into this trip not very familiar with manatees but quickly learned that they come to the warm springs when the temperature drops. Our first day we self-launched our Kayaks in rough windy conditions and went looking for these creatures. We met with moderate success. We saw a few at a distance and had fun padding, but no close encounters. The following day though, wow. Conditions were perfect, cold and calm. We met Captain Wyn at 7:30am for an early morning trip. By the time we got to Homosassa Springs, we had already seen several. At the spring we left the comforts of the boat cabin and snorkeled in the surprisingly warm spring water. In no time we were seeing several manatees swim under us. Soon they got comfortable enough to come in for a close encounter. They will literally float up to you and look you right in the eyes, evaluating your spirit it seems. They are extremely gentle creatures that like to play, once they feel comfortable with you. We were all able to have really close engagement with several individual manatees. Kids and adults all enjoyed this family adventure. It was definitely worth spending a weekend away from the farm.
If anyone is interested, we went out with captain Wyn at http://blueheavenrivertours.com/