http://www.paddling.net/places/showReport.html?1666 - this is a good, short trip report with pic's...
Crystal River Springs /River at town of Crystal River. We can paddle & swim with manatees. I lived & played here for more than ten years & it is absolutely the single best spot remaining in the entire USA, & probably the enire World, that still allows paddling & swimming among huge numbers of unique, amazing, & gentle manatees.
Manatees (to 13 ft long & over 1,000 pounds) evolved from four-legged land mammals over 60 million years ago, with the closest living relatives being the Proboscidea (elephants). Manatees are very gentle 'aquatic elephants' & sometimes come right up to you & rub their nose against you asking, i think, to be scratched - althou technically it is illegal to even touch them nowdays.
I've personally been blessed with swimming/diving with manatees hundreds of times in Crystal River since 1959. In fact this is where i earned my first SCUBA certification, right in Crystal Springs. I moved to Crystal River after earning a degree in Marine Biology, & lived there for about ten years in the 1970's. Was i lucky or what ?
As with all of our paddles, we are not guides nor instructors. We are kayaking enthusiasts out for an enjoyable time. We help each other, learn from each and enjoy the privilege of being. By participating in any of our paddles you assume all risks and responsibilities for your personal health and safety and for your equipment. We do require you wear a PFD with a whistle. It is important for everyone that each participant be prepared for the trip and can keep up with the group. Please use your discretion and best judgment and are comfortable with weather forecast when joining a trip. Be sure you are up to the paddle -- physically, mentally and that your equipment is appropriate for the intended trip. Know and respect your limits. Be safe, act responsibly and you will certainly enjoy another fantastic trip.