Manatees may not seem like the world’s most beautiful creatures now, but even just three hundred years ago explorers of the new world mistook these magnificent creatures for mermaids. While they may not be as popular to swim with as dolphins, they certainly deserve a place on any animal lover’s bucket list.
Manatees are herbivores and feed mostly on seagrass. What you may not realize about manatees is that they aren’t simply the size of a seal or a dolphin, they are actually gentle giants! Manatees can measure up to 4 meters long (just over 13 feet) and weigh as much as 590 kilos (that’s 1300lbs!).
So where can you find manatees to get this checked off your list? Well, to take a dip with a manatee you’re going to need to head to Florida, where they live in shallow, slow-moving rivers, bays, estuaries, canals and coastal areas throughout the winter (November through March).
Once you’re in Florida, or start the process of planning your trip, sign up to a tour with one of the local companies there, ideally one who advertises its interests in saving these gentle creatures who are susceptible to boat propellers and other injuries as humans use their waterways.
On the day of your swim, you’ll get out on the boat with your chosen guide, likely early in the morning for the best chance of finding the manatees, don a wetsuit and watch a short government video about how to responsibly swim with the manatees.
Then, your guides will spend some time (anything from 5 minutes to a couple of hours) seeking out some wild manatees for you to swim with. Then it will be time for you to slip into the water and see the manatees in their natural habitat – and it will be an experience you will never forget!
If you are looking for more unique bucket list ideas, or are ready to start your first bucket list, make sure you download the Buckil app, available on iOS and Android, or go to Buckil.com to start your list today so you can live your life with more adventure.