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Manatee Abuse and Harassment Caught on Tape

Discussion in 'Florida Diving' started by marksm, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. marksm

    marksm Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Anchored in Michigan...stationed in SoCal

    I am posting this video which just won the 2008 Our World Underwater Wetpixel/Divephotoguide Film Competition. It is an important message to share with your fellow divers and those who want to dive or snorkel with manatees in Crystal River.

    Thank you for your time.

    rixxir likes this.
  2. shellim123

    shellim123 Look, I'm an atom!

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Bi-coastal, Florida
    This is just sick and wrong!
  3. HowardE

    HowardE Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Boca Raton, Florida

    I saw your video at OWU, it is moving and disturbing. Thank you so much for sharing this with our community. I am sure the world will get out.
  4. Queen

    Queen Guest

    That is just so wrong! :shakehead:
  5. pir8

    pir8 NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Philadelphia
    I notice that the operators logos are blured in the film, is there a listing of unscroupelous operators anywhere.
  6. matts1w

    matts1w Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
    Only one question...how come the operators who harass the manatees are not named? i would especially like to know who the guy running his mouth about a "...whole lot of fin."

    Or perhaps we could offer up a list of operators with the best reputations? Some of you up there by the springs and rivers must know where to go and where not to go.
  7. marksm

    marksm Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Anchored in Michigan...stationed in SoCal
    I wish I could have left the names unblurred but some competitions are weary of it.

    Many operators talk a good game but, as I have witnessed, don't follow thru. If a operator tells you the manatees love belly rubs and being petted, then you have the wrong company and you should be weary. Ask them their policies about interaction. Ask them how many are on the boat at a time. Less then 10 is a good sign. Less then 6 is better.

    I do NOT go out with American Pro Diving Center. They are the ones who blocked me and who held the manatees for the children to surround. Birds Underwater has decent control over their people but the captain makes the difference. Also, they tend to bring several boats at once into a small area. Captain Chris, who is also a videographer, is on top of it. Ask for her boat.

    In my opinion these next few were the best there. Either because they are eco friendly kayak tours or because the swim with program is limited to a few people at a time, monitored carefully, and they have no problem pulling a swimmer out.

    Nature Coast Kayak Tours naturecoastkayaktours.com - Home Ask for Tracy. Crystal River, FL 1-888-795-9877. Tracy was my "manatee manners" coach and really helped me to begin to understand manatee body language, behaviors, and interactions.

    Aardvark's Florida Kayak Company. Matt and Susan. Kayaks for Sale, Guided Kayak Tours and Kayak Rentals Crystal River Florida 352-795-5650.
    640 N. Citrus Ave. Crystal River, FL 34429

    Adventure Outpost. Lars Andersen. 18238 NW Hwy. 441 High Springs, FL 32643. 386-454-0611. riverguide2000@yahoo.com. Adventureoutpost.net. (canoe/kayak outfitter and guide).

    There's one other kayak outfitter I need to get contact info. for... Brack154@msn.com

    Swim with operators I'd recommend...

    Fun2dive.com capt. Joe. 503 S. French Ave. Sanford, FL 32771. 1-888-588-3483. capt@fun2dive.com.

    Native vacations. Capt. Tracy. New Page 3 1-866-GO-NATIVE

    For a group going down. It is really a great combination to go with a kayak company your first day and learn to appreciate what you are seeing in the area and learn about manatees. The guides teach you everything you need to know. You will also get to see some of the operators behaving poorly. After you do that, go the next day with a "swim with" operator or rent a jon or pontoon boat. If you do the "swim with" second, it will better prepare and educate you and make the joy of being in the water with the manatee that much more special.

    I will continue to monitor what goes on in Crystal River. I went down for a meeting a few weeks ago to talk about what I saw. I promised to return and do a film about the industry turning itself around and how they are all working to insure the manatee's survival; but only, if they change.
  8. mike_s

    mike_s Solo Diver


    So why did they "block you" ?

    from their comments it's obvious it was intentional, yet they harrassed the manatee themselves, so it wasn't for that reason it appears.
  9. Queen

    Queen Guest

    It sounded like if they blocked him he wouldn't get the harassment on tape?
  10. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Solo Diver Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl

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