Manatees glide through warm waters in and around Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, Florida, a winter shelter from colder ocean temperatures. In the heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast lies one of the only places in the world where humans are encouraged to interact with these curious creatures.
The practice has been controversial, but permission to swim with the animals predates the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Hundreds of manatees, at great risk of being hit by boats elsewhere, congregate in this protected, shallow, jade green lagoon.
In this short film from Dive Documentaries, tour operator Captain Broderick highlights the correct way to observe the creatures in their natural habitat.
This video was first published by National Geographic on 21 Dec 2014.