Another summer Gone... Now Here Come the Manatees!

Once again, summer has come and gone. The local kids are back at school and we are worrying less and less daily about the potential of one last hurricane! Autumn is a welcome season here in Citrus County not only because the humidity lowers, the rainy season is over and we can have a hairstyle for the first time since June... but because the cool weather approaching means our manatee friends are soon to follow!

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With a record number of visitors to Citrus County this summer season, it has been an awesome year for us at both River Ventures in Crystal River and River Safaris in Homosassa! Scallop season was a resounding success and we had many groups limit out even in the final days which are typically very challenging. Our experienced and fun Captains; Tanner, Phil, Emerson, Laura, Mike, Mariah and Tom led the way on the daily scallop excursions as well as our Ultimate Voyage which combines the manatee snorkel with some time scalloping in the Gulf. The manatee tours were super too!

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Here in Crystal River, our Rockstar eelgrass (check out King's Bay Restoration) project has taken root...with GREAT SUCCESS... and we believe the prolific, healthy and delicious sea grass beds convinced more manatees to stay in the area this year than ever before! It's a virtual buffet out there for them and they love the opportunity to have access to plenty of food without swimming too far or working too hard! There was not one day this summer that we did not swim with manatees; and due to the eelgrass the water clarity has improved and we are seeing more species of fish in the area than have been present in the last 30 years!

As is often the case, with good news... comes some bad news. South Florida was not as lucky as this area over the summer and has seen the longest lasting 'Red Tide' in recorded history. Hundreds of manatees, dolphins, sea birds and thousands of fish have perished in the tide and it's still not quite over. A few manatees were even brought to our local rehab center for treatment from the red tide... and so far they are all recovering just fine. Red Tide has never made it this far north, so our tours have proceeded as scheduled. We did however have a few days closed due to hurricane Micheal this summer.

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As most of the world watched, we braced for one of the biggest hurricanes ever. Even if it's not a direct hit, the Gulf is uniquely positioned to hit us with storm surges that sometimes flood town and force evacuation. Many of us were in the mandatory evacuation zone, but after a day away we returned to find considerable flooding but very little damage. So thankful that we missed the unbelievable damage done to the panhandle, we returned to the water with a heavy heart for our fellow humans who's homes, lives and cities will never be the same. Mother Nature is awesome… and in this case created an awesome tragedy. With the local flooding came a few manatee rescues, including a mother and calf stranded in a ditch behind our building! With the help of volunteers, our Captains and FWS they were safely returned to their home without injury or incident. The 'Manatee Capital of the World' takes good care of our manatee friends!

Looking forward to another manatee season, officially beginning November 15th, we welcome you to join us for the adventure of a lifetime! Come for 2 days, or 3 days... experience all the wonder that the Nature Coast has to offer! Manatees are the star of the show in this area, but mermaids, fishing, air boats, springs, kayaking, hiking and world class birding will fill your days with the sort of old Florida adventure that so many of us long for in this modern world. Step out of the long lines at the Amusement Parks, look up from your mobile phones and DIVE INTO ADVENTURE! Many northern beaches are still closed after the hurricane, and many Southern beaches are closed due to red tide. We're right in the middle... so we have super conditions and are ready for visitors! With River Ventures and Safaris as your guide you can explore the roads less traveled in confidence and we guarantee a smile from even the hard to please! Plan your winter get-away now before the snow falls... the manatees beckon you and take this personal invitation to heart...

WE WELCOME YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO THE NATURE COAST!