All aboard a manatee adventure

If you believe in your dreams, your dreams will come to life.

One night, gentle giants came to my dream and shared a place in my heart;

One day, I came to see them and shared a unique memory with them.

It is my adventure with manatees, often called sea cows.

You might know that Crystal River (Florida) is home to the world’s largest population of endangered manatee, particularly in the cooler months when they tend to congregate in the area’s warmer waters. My adventurous spirit pushed me to travel to meet them there, to dare to dream, and write a new chapter in my adventure book. I am proud to have completed this adventure solo and made this dream come true. 

I knew that the cooler the weather, the better the chance to see these friendly wild mammals. My adventure started early morning, at 6:00 AM. The weather was very chilly, about 45F degrees, and the sky was dark. On the way to my adventure spot, Kings Bay, I saw an amazing and incredible sunrise, with fog on the water, and boats around it. The moment was very peaceful as I witnessed the sky change color from dark to orange and pink, coloring above the fog on the water.

There is nothing more special than seeing the sun rise in such an amazing place. These are the moments that give you fuel which lasts forever.

Wow! I realized that I was about to have an adventure in this paradise wonderland. I could not believe my eyes, but it was real. That early morning moment made this adventure even more special.

Adventuring in a paradise wonderland.

Our boat stayed on Kings Bay. We got out of the boat, and submerged ourselves into the water, using snorkels, waiting for the manatees to come along. At the beginning, I did not see anything. I was very careful and patient, worried that my intrusion would interrupt them. After awhile, I felt something moving in the water. I looked closer and closer. Then, Wow! It was a manatee approaching. It is a gentle giant, clumsy but very cute and friendly. Adult manatees can be up to 10 feet long and weigh as much as 2,300 pounds.

This unique, crusty one was swimming toward me.

They swam around me, and said hello in their unique way. The most exciting moment was when they followed me and cuddled with my feet and body, like a close friend, playing with me in the water. 

They followed my body as we were swimming, staying at the same level as me, taking this adventure together. 

I did not feel nervous or afraid of them. I knew it was not a dream at all. I kept swimming with them, these gentle giants amazed me, they kissed and rode beside me, as if giving me a big hug. I saw a baby manatee flip over and swim with its mother, swimming around me. When we got closer, I clearly saw their whole cute faces and tails. I had a lot of magic touching with them. They showed me lots of love.

When you are face to face with this cute wild encounter, you will understand why they are special.

I felt great freedom when immersed in the water and in nature. I truly feel that the beautiful creature is simple and precious in nature. They love humans. I still remember the weather in the morning was chilly, and I spent a few hours in the water, my body feeling cold and shaking.  I inserted myself there with the sun rising, all things frozen in time. I forgot about the cold and other thoughts in my head, and just enjoyed the incredible moment with my adventure buddy.

IMG_0368 (1).JPG
We were super close. You shared a place in my heart, we shared an incredible moment together. Priceless.


A reflection of our own nature. A sentient being sharing our space. I found compassion and inspiration through this incredible experience.  
Come closer, closer… my adventure buddy.
A magic hug will keep a big smile on my face.
Its cute noses rises above the fog, making this natural moment more magical.

I felt most alive playing with them. I felt inspired and like anything I wanted to do in life is possible. When I am back to reality, I can still feel this special experience. It warms my heart. These incredible animals make my life complete. This is one of my favorite adventures in my lifetime. The “magic hugs” gave me courage to move forward and fearless to accomplish anything I want in this world.

My adventure buddies —manatees, thanks for the adventure.

Now go have a new one!

Note: In most cases, it is illegal to touch or interfere with a manatee in Florida. However, it is legal to swim and interact with manatees in two towns in Citrus County, including King’s Bay, located about two hours Northwest of Orlando. If you want to experience your own manatee adventure, be certain to do so where it is legal to do so, as this author has done.


1 Comment

  1. Mike Barnhart says:

    Wow! Amazing photos Stephy! Such a wonderful adventure with manatees! So glad you had the experience and can share this amazing story! ❤


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s