Swim with the Manatees
Come join Campus Recreation and Outdoor Adventures as we Swim With the Manatees January 14-16, Saturday –Monday (MLK holiday). These “cows of the sea” – and sources of sailors tales of mermaids - are perhaps the most gentle wild animals you will ever encounter. They must leave the cold Gulf waters in the winter months or perish. They come to the warm Florida springs in the highest concentration of manatees worldwide where they mate and raise their young. You will don a wet suit and actually be able to touch these incredible gentle giants – be careful of amorous males - and watch the curious youngsters swim up and inspect you face to face.
Check out our WEB page – southalabama.edu/outdoor/ - for great pictures and video from a previous manatee trip, pictures and videos of other trips, and our itinerary for Spring Semester.
Day 1 – We will leave the Rec Center at midnight on Friday and drive eight hours to Homosassa Springs, Florida. We check into Nature’s Resort campground around 10 a.m. and set up camp, purchase food and supplies and pick up our wet suits. We will then go to the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park around noon and spend 3 – 4 hours viewing Florida’s wildlife – bobcats, cougars, alligators, bears, birds of prey - in a natural setting along 1.1 miles of paved trails and boardwalk. The Fish Bowl underwater observatory allows you to see manatees and thousands of fish up close below water. Educational animal shows are presented throughout the day.
Then, back to camp where you may then go on some optional specially priced trips with Booby Trap Charters – a) Sit Down, Shut Up and Hold on Tour which is a backwater trip at a fast pace; b) Sunset Tour where we see a beautiful sunset over St. Martins Keys; both tours are an additional $35 per person. Or just relax by the pool or camp. Finally, we will go out for dinner or cook outside at the campground.
Day 2 – Our campground is on the Homosassa River and 15 minutes away from the highest concentration of manatees. We will rent a pontoon boat and literally have all day to spend with the manatees and boat to other areas.
Evening: back to campground and dinner in the campground or a local restaurant.
Day 3 – Drive back to Mobile and arrive around 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $110 for students and $115 for their family members; $120 for staff/faculty/alum and $125 for their family members; $135 for all others. Fee includes all camping gear, campground fees, manatee swim fees including snorkel, mask, fins, wetsuit, and pontoon boat; Homosassa Wildlife park fees, all transportation costs. Does not include: special charter trips, or food. Your fee will be reduced by $35 if you supply your own wet suit, snorkel and fins. Eating in camp or eating out will be each individual’s choice.
How to sign up:
1- Respond to this e-mail with your name(s) and cell phone number(s). We will hold spots for the first 8 responders. When the trip fills, we will ask that you bring in your payment (checks only, payable to “USA,” checks will not be deposited until one week before the trip.) If trip is canceled, all fees will be returned. Do not wait; this trip has filled early in past years.
Trip limit: minimum of 8. We will take an additional 7 people IF we can find a driver with a 6 passenger vehicle (we will pay for driver’s gas and waive half his/her fees).
Pre-trip meeting Tuesday, January 10, 8:00 p.m. at the Rec Center meeting room.
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