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Crystal River Operator?

Discussion in 'Florida Diving' started by LSUGIRL, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. LSUGIRL

    LSUGIRL Garibaldi

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    My husband and I are fairly new divers (only dove in Caribbean, Panama City, Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama) and are looking for a friendly operator to dive with the manatees in Crystal River, Florida. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Libby
     
  2. cruzandiver1

    cruzandiver1 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Glenshaw, PA
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    I took my girlfriend to Crystal Lodge Dive Center a few years ago. The dive center is operated by a Best Western so you know the rooms are clean and very close to the water. The operaters were fantastic, although expect more snorkeling than diving when checking out the Manatee. When in the area, ask about a drift dive on the Indian River. We really enjoyed this dive after a few days of taking pictures of the sea cows. We were there in January and it was a bit chilly on the boat ride out to the springs so be better prepared better than I was.

    Enjoy, Jon
     
  3. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    16,264
    7,651
    113
    Bird's. Do not use American Pro! Cattle boats, they harass the animals, and are just a shoddy operation. Big but shoddy. There is an old thread with links to videos of them screwing with the animals and corralling them for visitors. Not only illegal but stressful to the manatees. But you can get a PADI manatee diver specialty with them.:shakehead:
     
  4. Pearldiver07

    Pearldiver07 IDC Instructor

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    that's sad. when we were diving with them our guide called in two different boats for infractions. I hope that this example was of an idiot, not representative of the operation.
     
  5. herbdb

    herbdb Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Allentown, PA
    1,241
    279
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    I booked a snorkeling trip with Bird's Underwater Dive Center Crystal River Scuba Diving Florida Classes Snorkeling FL Dive Tours. According to them they don't do scuba Manatee trips because the bubbles spook the Manatee.

    I also booked a Rainbow River drift dive with them for the next day. They take you upriver on a pontoon boat, then you drift dive with the boat back to the start. My son and I will dive, they will let my wife ride the boat for free.

    I found favorable reviews on this dive center, but have no personal experience. Looking forward to both trips. Then we will head for two weeks in the Keys.

    Herb
     
  6. CrazyUncle

    CrazyUncle Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Northern Kentucky
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    I agree, Bird's Underwater is great. We were there in February with Bird's for the manatee snorkel and they also certified my daughter at King Spring and Devils Den. Good people and very accomodating. It's also within walking distance from teh Best Western Crystal River, just across the parking lot.
     
  7. Greendiver

    Greendiver Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Southwest Michigan
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    When my family and I were in Crystal River we went on the Manatee snorkel trip with Bird's Underwater, and will again. What an experience for us! It was the highlight of the trip. I also did the Rainbow river drift dive with Bird's and had a great time there, but the Manatee were tops! Personally, I wrestled with the decision prior to booking the Manatee trip, in no way did I want our visit with them to be negative. We enjoyed ourselves and it sure seemed as though the Manatee enjoyed the visit too, what impressive animals. I highly recommend Bird's for the Manatee snorkel trip.
     
  8. Diver Lori

    Diver Lori Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: oHIo
    1,315
    8
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    Ditto on Bird's. He runs a tight ship and is well respected cave diver and instructor in the area.
     
  9. herman

    herman Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh,North Carolina
    8,977
    1,290
    113
    Been with Birds twice, both times I got tired of petting manatees, the things were all over us for a couple of hours. You have to get there early but it's worth the trouble.
     
  10. I Dive

    I Dive Divemaster

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pinellas Park, FL
    1,190
    2
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    It was probably the Rainbow River, the Indian River is pretty far away and not much known for drift driving

    Beyond that, they are just arrogant and rude. Even if they treated Manatees like Royalty, I wouldn't give another penny to those pricks. I hate them. Birds is awesome, American Pro sucks!
     

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