Manatee Hugs the Human

Occurred on March 29, 2019 / Crystal River, Florida, USA

Info from Licensor: My cousin was visiting from Ohio for my bachelorette party and had mentioned that she had never seen a manatee. I decided to take her swimming with them before we headed to Cocoa Beach. We booked a tour with fun2dive in Crystal River. She was the first manatee we saw. We entered the water about 20 feet away from her, this is when she turned around to come to check us out. It started with small hugs on our legs, then she became more comfortable I'm guessing. I was floating on top of the water, as advised by the guides so to not bother the manatees. Then she approached me from the side, went under me, lifted me out of the water and rolled me to her other side. We then backed up to give her space and not overwhelm her, but she came back for more hugs. We spent an additional 30 minutes with her, then she began eating and we watched her swim away. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I could swim with them every day of the year and I'm not sure I would get this experience again!