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Thread: Swimming with Manatees

  1. #1
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Jul 2011

    Swimming with Manatees

    A week ago as part of filming for my documentary, Venessa and I got to swim with manatees as mermaids. In order to do this we secure appropriate permits, applicable insurance, got permission from the coast guard, and were supervised by "manatee watch" volunteers the entire time to ensure compliance with endangered species laws Believe it or not, we were allowed and encouraged to touch the manatees IF they approached us! (also we had a chartered experienced captain)

    We swam in the river for about 4 hours non-stop! We couldn't do the normal mermaid swimming because it would churn up the bottom making it too hard to see, and also we had to ensure we didn't bump into manatees and they were also tricky to see until they were right with you. They'd rise up from the bottom like ghosts.

    The manatees were covered in algae and liked having their backs rubbed, and there were a few with scars from boats. There were also some remora fish stuck to some of them. There were loads and loads of them but about 15 of them interacted with us. one kept following us around haha.

    They really liked my tail and would curiously nibble the streamers on my fluke (no damage!) and my hair haha.

    A big seacow brought her baby over to see us.

    One rose right under neath me, and another came right up to my face and sniffed it.

    I can't show you ALL the content because we are saving it for the documentary, but here's a little unedited informal clip and some pics

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania moomer's Avatar
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    Jan 2017
    Newcastle, Australia
    Oh my glob. This is amazing!! I love manatees!
    I really enjoyed the little teaser trailer. You all seemed so calm.
    Do you have an idea of when the documentary will be released?

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    What an incredible experience for you both. You both look so happy.
    ~Mermaid Salacia~
    Sea Witch of South Australia

  4. #4
    so cool!

    definitely on my bucketlist

  5. #5
    Sounds like good times. Thanks for posting!

    Maybe the manatees found you guys just as cool as you found them to be?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Jul 2011
    the doc is being finished in the next little bit, they have followed me around literally ALL year, it's like a year in the life type deal LOL. It goes into the editing in the new year. We are hoping to put it in some film festivals if it's ready in time before anything else. I will keep people posted

    It was a magical experience, and I do want to make sure people know we complied with all rules and like I said, were supervised by manatee watch. They don't normally let mermaids swim but we were able to get all the appropriate paperwork and permission and they made an exception for the film. But I suggest anyone do it as a regular person and snorkel! I plan to go back and do it as a regular snorkler again too so I can fully enjoy it and not be worried about shots. LOL

  7. #7
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Jul 2011
    Another video!

  8. #8
    Oh my gosh that sounds so amazing! It must've been lots of fun!
    Mermaid Sagittaria
    Savannah, GA | Richmond, VA
    Competitive Swimmer since 2005 | Aspiring Animator
    9 Time National Champion Swimmer | 11 Time All-American Swimmer
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod Seaspray Mermaid's Avatar
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    Honest question. Why were you allowed/encouraged to touch the manatees? Generally speaking, wild animals should be given a respectful, cautious distance.
    Why blend in when you were so obviously destined to stand out?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
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    Jul 2011
    we were allowed if they approached us and initiated contact You weren't allowed to like, chase after a manatee that had no interest you and hassle it. But they come right up to you, they followed us, chewed on my hair and my fin, head butted us, one tried to roll our floating friend over. Swimming with the manatees is a big tourism draw in Florida and the funds it has generated along with awareness has been directly attributed to the amazing comeback they made in the past 5 years. Last year they were taken off the endangered species list!

    There are for sure people who don't give a damn though and we saw it first hand. People on paddle boards were slamming right into them I was floored! We also saw some awareness videos before we went that showed how unsupervised people would maul them, try to pick them up, ride them, it was awful.

    As I mentioned in my earlier posts we got a special permit to be able to interact with them- it's the same kinda thing wildlife photographers/videographers do for shows on Nat Geo etc Also, Manatee watch were there while we were there, to make sure all the rules were being enforced.

    I actually was in the water a good 2 hours before I would touch one lol. But within the first 5 minutes I was floating and trying to get used to the water and one came up without me realizing it and ran its head under my hand, and then went right for my wig LOL.

    I'd say when it comes to these group of animals that are so involved with people out of their own interest, it would be on par with like those hot tub monkeys in Japan lol.


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