This was a very surreal experience. It is not like a dolphin swim, where the dolphins are trained to swim with you and get rewarded for their efforts. A manatee swim is completely up to the manatees out in their natural habitat. If they don't want to swim with you, there won't be a manatee swim.

It was suggested to go in the early morning, when the manatees are said to be more curious and playful. You get dropped in the water and just wait. The day we went, there were quite a few curious manatees who wanted to play. There are strict laws on not approaching them unless they approach you and only touching them flatly with an open hand. I can positively recommend the tour outfit we went with called Captain Mike's out of Crystal River, Florida, with an office in Homosassa Springs.

These photos were taken in 2011.