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“Amazing time. Great company”

Air Tank Divers Manatee Tours
Reviewed 22 November 2013 via mobile

Our family did the manatee snorkel trip November 21st, 2013. We had an amazing time. We researched a lot of manatee snorkel companies before deciding on this one. We actually called another company and they wouldn't let me go on their boat because I am in a wheelchair. They referred us to Don and Air Tank Divers. We are so glad they did.
We drove early from Orlando and arrived for the short "legal" video everyone has to watch. Then we got fitted for wetsuits and drove to the marina where we would leave from. Don and his wife (sorry forgot her name) were so friendly and wonderful working with our kids. They only allow 6 people per boat and we took two full boats for our group. Our family had one and two other groups split the other boat. We went out on a river in Homomassa, not crystal river. When I read other reviews, most people's complaint was their trip was packed with too many people.
We went to the end of the river and we were the only 12 people on the water all day!
We got in and the manatees came up to us quickly. I found one and started to touch and scratch it when it came up for Air. It was my best friend the rest of the day.
People on the trip came in and out of the water at their own pace. Air Tank Divers doesn't limit your time. You can be out as long as you want.
Even though they tell you the water is warm, it's still only 72 degrees and its cold at first. Most people didn't stay in the water very long. After about 30 minutes of playing with two or three manatees, everyone got out of the water - except me and a woman from Canada. We were playing with a manatee and I was filming with my Go Pro when another manatee nudged me in the back and wanted to play. For about 15 minutes we each had our own manatee to play with until my son and her son came back in. Then we swam over further into the river and found about 7 manatees, including one mom and her baby. Overall I spent about 2 1/2 hours in the water, almost always having a manatee nearby.
Our youngest daughter was 4, and they didn't charge us for her to go. My wife didn't want to swim so she was only $20. My oldest daughter only swam a little bit and didn't feel good. And my oldest boy was in the water most of the time. We never felt rushed to leave. The owners were so friendly and conversational with everyone, taking a lot of pictures for us and spotting manatees from the boat for us. We were allowed to bring our own snacks and cooler and they provided coffee, hot chocolate, and tea.
Overall, we had our own private boat for our family of 6 and another boat nearby. Of all the prices we got, Air Tank Divers was at least 1/2 the cost of everyone else and we were gone almost 5 hours.
Everyone absolutely loved this trip. If you're in the area, this is a must do. I've done several SCUBA trips but the close interaction of the manatees was unbelievable.
I would recommend this company to everyone who wants to snorkel with these wonderful gentle giants.

Thank Fatlonnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"his wife"
in 17 reviews
"manatee tour"
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"don robertson"
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"hot chocolate"
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"own pace"
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"baby manatee"
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"wonderful memories"
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"these guys"
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"knew where"
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"an amazing experience"
in 4 reviews
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40 - 44 of 81 reviews

Reviewed 29 July 2013

Excellent for all ALL I took my grandchildren and we all had lots of fun. fantastic water and animals, lots of learning for kids

Thank Mindy E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2013

Air Tank Divers is the best company around. I am a repeat customer and can't say enough good things about this tour. The best part is that you can stay in the water until you turn into a Popsicle - you are not rushed and have plenty of time to interact with the manatees. Don is very knowledgeable and has great stories to tell and Elisa is very helpful. I highly recommend Air Tank Divers. Have a great summer guys, and Don, stay at ground level.

1  Thank Camelid1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2013

Our 1st Manatee Tour was in March 2007 and we were not with Air Tank Divers. No manatees were seen that early morning and our then captain seemed quite unconcerned about the stars of the show being absent.. Fast forward 6 years and let's hop aboard Air Tank Divers and see what changes were in store. We had observed the obligatory manatee encounter video previously in 2007, however Captain Don added his own flair and made the preface to our journey both informative and exciting. Air Tank Divers showed passion about manatees and they informed our family in a relaxed and humorous manner. Next stop: Captain Don's Pontoon Boat. Nothing fancy but that's not why you go on manatee tours. The pontoon boat was safe, comfortable and Lisa brought us coffee and hot chocolate to boot. Captain Don was very informative along the way, pointing out various types of aquatic life on our way to a nearby secluded bay. Though the water wasn't cold, we were sure glad we opted for the optional wet suits, which enabled us to swim about freely amongst the many manatees for the full morning. In fact, there were more manatees than people that morning and the majestic see cows varied in size, age, color and shape. What really impressed us, was the personal touches added by both Lisa and Don. Lisa took 100's of pictures and video with our camera and 2 cell phones. Don was continually pointing out various manatees and discussing their current status and the plight with respect to their endangered status. This unhurried morning adventure surpassed our expectations in every way imaginable. 2 thumbs up Don & Lisa. You made an excellent outing even that more special. Hope to see you again one day soon.

The McIntosh Family
Doug Claire Troy Jade and Clay

2  Thank Governor_G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 January 2013

Bottom line: While having another tour with which to compare from the previous day, I would HANDS DOWN go out with Air Tank Divers next time I'm in the area... and I intend to and will highly recomend them to all my friends and family (I already have!). And the pictures Lisa took of us while we were in the water are absolutely wonderful. They are worth the price of the tour alone, but she took them for free (over 400 pictures with my camera -- and they're great!!)

Longer story: My friend and I headed to the area to swim with manatees. She had done it before (multiple times), but I never had. The day before heading out with Capt Don & Lisa we went out with another tour in Crystal River. It was neat, but more crowded (with other tour groups) and the manatees were much more overwhelmed. I was content with the day, but I had nothing to compare it with.

The next day we went out with Air Tank Divers in Homosassa Springs, instead. We ended up being the only customers on the morning tour so it was just the two of us with Capt Don and Lisa. Capt Don gave us pointers before we headed out on where to pet the manatees (go for their bellies, stay completely away from theirs faces and eyes, etc). I got the wetsuit rental, as well, and it was VERY snug (as it should be)... the rental from the previous day was much too big.

On our way to the preserve, Capt Don and Lisa spotted a "breeding pod" (or two). Lisa suggested we stop so Capt Don said "sure, we'll give it a shot." Well, it was awesome. The manatees came right over to use. There were only the two of us in the water, but there were at least 10 manatees making the rounds to greet and play with us. Amazing!

Eventually we moved along the river a bit more and stopped at another spot along the waterway. There was one other open-top boat there (not sure if it was a formal tour or not) but the other swimmers were calm and respectful, and there were plenty of manatees to go around. While at this spot another boat approached and dropped anchor right by us. Those people were much less respectful (loudly jumped into the water, were scared of snorkeling, etc) but, again, there were enough manatees to go around. By the time we were sufficiently cold, we had to head back.

The tour was scheduled to last longer, but we had to cut it short due to checking out of our hotel. This worked since there were no other customers on the tour, but know that with the 7:30 am tour, they plan to have you out until 11:30 or noon (which I think is awesome!).

Throughout the tour my friend and I would get in and out of the water while drinking hot chocolate (coffee was also provided from Air Tank Divers) to warm up.

The absolute best surprise of the entire tour was Lisa's photo-taking skills, though. She called us the day before to remind us to bring a camera because she said hers wasn't holding a charge properly. I am sure glad we did! She took over 400 photos of us in the water, and they're all excellent! (see the attached photos)

Both Capt. Don and Lisa love manatees and what they do, and that really shows.

1  Thank GypsyGirl512
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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