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.
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