Have You Seen the Mystical, Massive Manatees?

Closeup of a manatee's face

If you haven’t been to Florida, there’s a good chance you’ve never seen or even heard of these giant, lumbering beasts living in the waterways of that state. Able to transition between salt and fresh waters, they are able to migrate and therefore do inhabit other states, but the largest numbers are by far in Florida.

Having spent my first years on a dairy farm, I find myself comparing manatees with cows. In fact, they are referred to as “sea cows.”  Both generally slow-moving, big, have snouts, kind of cute in an ugly and weird kind of way, appear not-so-bright and normally friendly.  Possibly skittish, but not mean.


Manatee with swimmer in the background

I have swum with stingrays and watched my kids interact with dolphins. Many of our clients have enjoyed these experiences.  But I don’t think any have swam with these calm, vegetation-eating, 1,200 pound manatees.

Manatee zone sign advising minimum wake
There are three species of manatees with the West Indies Manatees being the one here in the U.S. Only off the endangered species list for the past few months, manatees’ biggest threat are humans. Not because they have any natural predators or because we’re harvesting them for any reason.  But for the reasons of them living in shallow coastal waters, come up for air every few minutes, being curious and moving too slowly to move out of the way, the majority of deaths and injuries are due from being struck boats.


If you are cruising from Florida and want to add on some time exploring the “Sunshine State,” you may want to visit to a manatee program.  There are many programs to see and interact with manatees in Florida.  The majority of the opportunities are in Crystal River located north of Tampa.  Others are located along the west coast. One popular company, River Ventures, offers a lot off terrific programs including ones involving manatees.

Whether you’re interested in meeting one of these gentle giants up close or from a distance, consider what wonderful experiences and sights await you if you arrive at your departure embarkation in advance.  Talk to us about visiting Florida before boarding your cruise ship.

Happy Traveling!

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