ADA eNews: Swim with Manatees and Cavern Diving this February!
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Photo courtesy of ADA member Stefano Barbosa
During the cold winter months, manatee move into the warmer waters of the Florida springs and the surrounding waters. Crystal River is famous for its congregation of manatees.  We are virtually assured of seeing them in large numbers.  The water will be cold by Florida standards, 70 to 72 degrees, so wet suits are needed.

ADA has reserved 10 spaces on board with Bird's Underwater Dive Center, Crystal River. The cost is $65 per person, per day and includes wet suit, snorkel gear, hot drinks, and snacks. Bill Bird has operated this facility right on the dock, since 1986 and has been featured on more than 25 TV shows. HIs stable pontoon boats offer enclosed areas with changing rooms. He also offers the PADI Manatee Awareness certification, as an extra cost option. We have reserved the morning excursions on February 18 and 19. The cost for both days is $130 per person for boat tickets only. Food, lodging, land transportation, and other expenses not included.

ADA has also reserved camp sites on the Lake Panasoffkee KOA near Crystal River. We have 3 RV/camper sites and 4 tent sites. Dates reserved are February 15 through February 20. Per night cost is approximately $20 for the tent sites and $40 for the RV/camper sites.  KOA grounds include pool, recreation hall, laundry room, bath house, fishing pier, WiFi, etc. Call 305-251-4975 to reserve your dates for any, or all 5 nights.

Please note: swimming with manatee is a snorkeling event. No scuba will be used during the manatee encounters.

Below is an illustrative Itinerary:

Friday, February 17: Drive to Crystal River and check in hotel or campsite. Your choice, make your own reservations.  Many of us plan to camp, but hotels are nearby and reasonably priced.

Saturday, February 18:  Morning departure for head springs via boat.  Time TBA.  Usually 2-3 hours of water time with the manatees.  The remainder of the day on your own for other activities.  Some of us will plan to cavern dive in several of the nearby springs.  Cavern diving is NOT cave diving. Any certified scuba diver can safely cavern dive, and ADA will have Safety Officers on duty to lead these dives. Call Lon to see if you qualify.

Sunday, February 19:   Second morning trip via boat, usually to different areas to swim with manatee.  Many of us will plan to return home after the swim, but others may stay another day.  Possible cavern diving in the afternoon.

Monday, February 20: Being a legal holiday, many of us can enjoy another day of swimming or cavern diving. We have structured this event to allow flexibility in times, days and activities.  Plan to join us for some or all this adventure.

A maximum of 10 participants can be accommodated. For reservations and additional information, please call Lon at 305-251-4975

Hurry - only 10 spaces allotted for this event. Pay online for the two boat trips only. A non-refundable deposit of $70 will hold your space.  The total price for both days is $130.Click here to reserve today!
Last chance! Renew before March 31, 2017 and your membership fee is only $35 for a calendar year of discounts and diving news. After March 31, your annual membership renewal fee is $45. Click here to renew online.

Save the Date: Upcoming Events!

Saturday, April 8, 2017 - ADA Dive Season Kickoff and BBQ: Mizell-Johnson State Park (formerly John U. Lloyd park) Jetty Pavilion, Dania Beach

Saturday, May 13, 2017 - Scuba Skills Tune-Up: AD Barnes Park Pool, Miami

July 8-15, 2017 - ADA International Dive Trip to Grenada: details

Saturday, October 14, 2017 - End of Season BBQ and Volunteer Appreciation: Mizell-Johnson State Park (formerly John U. Lloyd park) Jetty Pavilion, Dania Beach
For more information see our latest ADA Newsletter, The Mouthpiece. 

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