Manatees Guaranteed...Indeed!

We wanted to do something special and unique when we visited Naples, Florida last Spring.  We booked ourselves in for a boat tour with Manatee Sightseeing Eco-Adventures (aka Manatees Guaranteed).  Who doesn't love manatees?   Here's a sneak peek of what we saw on our trip.  Read on for more photos from our adventure with 'Captain Storm'.
We arrived in the marina and walked out onto the narrow dock...
We were soon aboard our open-air vessel with canopy to protect us from the harsh Florida sun.
Before we knew it, we were off to look for manatees, those gentle giants of the river systems around Florida.  Warning signs sternly told us to go at 'Idle Speed'.  Manatees are most often injured or killed by propellers on speed boats going too fast in the waters where they live.
We decided to turn our boat down this side channel and see what we could find.  Manatees Guaranteed gives out polarizing sunglasses to make it easier to spot the animals in the water.
Soon we saw something lurking below the surface and before we knew it, we were face to face with this cutie.  This young manatee was swimming with his mom and was super curious about our boat!
It came right up alongside us!
We also got a good glimpse of momma.  She was huge!
At one point, the baby started hovering really close to the surface and stuck its snout out of the water to say 'hello'.
Our tour was definitely off to an auspicious start!
We were told to keep an eye out for a manatee's footprint.  You can see one here...a series of circles in the water.  The manatee would be just ahead of this footprint.
We soon moved on and left this mom and baby to go about their business.  We cruised down the main channel admiring the mangrove forest as we went.
It was a spectacular day to be out on the water!
A very small motor sat at the back of the boat. When we thought we were close to manatees, Captain Storm would turn off the main engine and we'd glide slowly and silently using the power of this little motor.
It turns out that I have a pretty good eye for manatee spotting :-)  I saw this footprint in the distance and Captain Storm took us over to have a look.
Sure enough, two adult manatees were speeding along.
As we were headed back to the dock after our 90 minute tour, I noticed this lovely home nestled right along the channel.  How cool would it be to have manatees in your backyard!
As our tour came to a close, we drank in the sunshine.  The only downside of the trip was the stinging flies that seemed to take a liking to us.  Captain Storm offered us some insect repellent at the start of the trip but those of us that declined got bitten quite badly.  A word of advice, use the insect repellent before you depart on the tour.
The dock came back into view and it seemed like we were disembarking all too soon -- this trip was so much fun!
We highly recommend a visit to Port of the Islands Marina in Naples for a chance to see manatees up close.  The trip itself can be a bit pricey but there are only 6-8 people per boat and they will often give an internet discount if you mention that you saw the tour on their website (we took advantage of this for $20 off per person).

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Sidewalk Safari: Manatees Guaranteed...Indeed!
Manatees Guaranteed...Indeed!
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Sidewalk Safari
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