Manatee Kayaking Trips
Close Encounter With a Manatee
Manatees Sanctuary at Three Sisters, Crystal River
Manatee Kayaking in Crystal River
Want to see a real "mermaid?" Join us for our annual Manatee Kayaking
posted in February each year when we travel to Crystal River, Florida, to
seek out these gentle, giant river dwellers and get a close-up look at them
while they winter here.
There are six manatee sanctuaries in the Crystal
River's headwaters at Kings Bay that protect approximately 39 acres of
essential manatee habitat. The sanctuaries were created to provide manatees
areas where they could retreat from people during their winter-long stay in
the area. Kings Bay is considered the most important winter refuge for
manatees on Florida's west coast. More than 250 manatees are known to winter
Manatees have a large, seal-like body that tapers to a powerful flat
tail and two agile forelimbs with
three to four toenails on each, which act like arms to help the manatee
maneuver in shallow water, grasp and move food toward their mouths, and act
like flippers during swimming. They average 9 to 10 feet long, weighing
around 1,000 lbs and can grow as large as 13 feet and weigh more than 3,000
Gentle and slow-moving, manatees spend most of the time eating vegetation
(100-150 lbs. per day), resting, and traveling. On average manatees can
travel about 40 to 50 miles a day, sometimes farther. Chessie, the famed
manatee rescued from the cold waters of the Chesapeake Bay and returned to
Florida, was tagged with a locating device which showed he traveled as far
as Rhode Island during hot summer months.
Manatees are found in costal
waterways, estuaries, salt-water bays, rivers and canals, particularly where
seagrass beds are located. Manatees are completely herbivorous and can eat
10-15% of their body weight daily.
Kayaking is an easy and fun way to get close to
manatees without disturbing them. Almost anyone can get the hang of
kayaking right away, and you don't have to
be really fit, just able to do some moderate activity.
You don't even need your own kayak. You can rent a kayak on location at
Bird's Underwater or another nearby shop. This trip usually ranges in price from $25 to $40 for the
day, and the paddle typically takes only a few hours.
Some of our members also rent out their personal kayaks at reasonable rates. You need to
pick the kayak up and transport it yourself in most cases, but sometimes
members can even help with that, too.
Kayaks are a little like canoes, except kayaks are generally much lighter
and easier to steer. Kayaks are usually built for one person. You use one
long double-ended paddle to propel yourself through the water. In my
opinion, the easiest kayaks to use are the "sit-on-top" kayaks, where you
are above the water line. This gives you more leverage when dipping your
paddle into the water.
See our Events Listing for the next
Manatee Kayaking Trip:
Events are open to all members!
Not a member yet? Join us:
More Events Not to Miss:
Adventures in Reading Book Club
Hang Gliding, Hot Air
Ballooning and Camping Weekend
Teddy Bear Holiday Party