Elizabeth and the Manatees | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

Coming up, Jonathan and his new friend Elizabeth
visit the warm water springs of Florida in search of manatees! Welcome to Jonathan Bird’s Blue World! The town of Crystal River in Florida is famous
around the world for its warm water springs. During the winter, these springs fill with
the world’s largest aggregation of manatees. Blue world team! We’re on the road, in beautiful Crystal
River, Florida! Todd, Zach and I have arrived not just for
manatees, but to meet up with a very special kid. Elizabeth is a 7 year old swimming prodigy. From an early age, she took to the water like
a fish. You can do it! In fact, when she was only 16 months old,
she could swim across a swimming pool by herself—becoming a YouTube sensation. Now, she has her own YouTube channel, Elizabeth
Swims, where she posts videos about swimming all around the country. But she has never been swimming in the wild
with a large aquatic animal. So today, we’re going to change all that
and take her to meet one of Florida’s most famous residents. Elizabeth and her dad Adam are meeting me
in the town of Crystal River for an underwater adventure! Elizabeth! Hey, great to meet you! Hi! Are you ready to go swim with some manatees? Ya! Let’s go! Our guides to the manatees are Captain Stacy
Dunn and her husband Mike. We load their pontoon boat and then Captain
Stacy explains the rules for manatee interactions. With Mike at the helm, we leave the dock and
slowly make our way through a series of canals to Kings Bay. Along the way, Stacy shows Elizabeth some
pictures of the area and points out different features of the river. But we’re not going to this spring right
now, because, see how crowded it is? And this is not a clear spring. This is where the cavern is too, Zach. The cavern is down in there. So there’s two springs here, Mullet Hole
which is right in front of the brown sign, and then the one where the people are and
that’s… We pass lots of “no wake” signs, reminding
us that this area is filled with vulnerable manatees. Manatees swimming just under the surface can
be injured or killed by propellers. So we go very slowly, keeping an eye peeled
for manatees near the boat. We pass quite a few along the way! Soon we arrive at the mouth of Three Sisters
Spring, one of the best places to see manatees. This spot is no secret, there are 5 boats
here and 20 people already in the water. But the swimmers can’t go past the ropes,
giving the manatees some personal space. From the air, we can see that there are at
least 200 animals here, most of which are resting behind the rope close to the warm
water coming from the mouth of the spring. Cameraman Todd and I hop into the water. Going very smooth and quietly. Oh, so cold so cold! OK better now. Due to a recent cold snap in Florida, the
water is only in the mid 60s. Next it’s Elizabeth’s turn and I’m a
little worried that the water is going to be too cold for her. She has a wetsuit, so that will help. As it turns out, she handles the cold just
fine, but the murky water over where we anchored the boat freaks her out a little. So her dad hops in the water to help out. We move to a shallow spot where Elizabeth
can stand up and get her bearings. She is using a pool noodle to float, which
is actually something that the tour operators are asking people to do. And this is the reason. The water is shallow, and manatees go under
people all the time, so good floatation keeps people from accidentally kicking them. Elizabeth grabs her noodle and off we go to
the clear water near the spring. She is definitely cold, but she is determined
to see some manatees! We hang out together in the clear water until
a manatee comes over to check us out. These are huge but gentle animals. As long as we don’t bother them, they don’t
mind us being in the water at all. Now you might be asking yourself why there
are so many manatees in Crystal River. West Indian Manatees are largely solitary
animals that live in shallow, coastal areas around Florida and the Caribbean. They feed on sea grasses, so in the past they
were often called sea cows. Florida is at the northern end of their range,
so in winter, when the ocean gets cold, they go looking for warmth. Fortunately, the water spilling out of Florida’s
springs is a constant 72° Fahrenheit. Manatees swim up rivers from the ocean to
reach the springs. At the springs, they mostly just rest and
wait for the weather to get warmer. But there is almost nothing here to eat. So a tree leaf that lands on the water is
a welcome snack. Some of the manatees are quite skinny—they
are not getting enough to eat here. During the day some of the manatees will swim
out into the river to find food, but many of them just can’t handle the cold, and
stay hunkered down at the springs. After a manatee has been lounging in shallow
fresh water for a while, it may develop a coat of algae on its back. The fish love this delicious salad bar, and
the manatees don’t seem to mind getting rid of the algae. Because manatees are mammals, they have lungs
and breathe air. So every few minutes, a manatee will rise
to breathe once or twice, before settling down and going back to sleep, holding its
breath. Their nostrils feature perfectly water-tight
valves, so they don’t have worry about water in the nose. But its not easy sharing these shallow waters
with boats. Many manatees have terrible injuries from
close encounters with propellers. And these are the ones that survived. Around 75 manatees are killed by boats every
year in Florida. It’s not all bad news though. Manatees are doing much better than they were
20 years ago. With strong protection in place, their numbers
have tripled since 1994. Elizabeth and I are having a great time hanging
out with the manatees. But now we are both freezing, and it’s time
to warm up, so we say goodbye to our aquatic friends. By getting the chance to see manatees up close,
I hope Elizabeth will become as enchanted with marine life as I am, and become another
advocate for the protection and appreciation of marine life all around the Blue World.

100 thoughts on “Elizabeth and the Manatees | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. swimming with a manatee is on my bucket list! Along with feeding a giraffe and petting a penguin. Anyone have recommendations of who to tour with for swimming with a manatee?

  2. i've been waiting for your new videos.. i can't get enough of watching it..i wanted to become a scuba diver because of you..

  3. So glad the ol' sea cows are doing so well, I have worked with them here in Australia but there is a silly law allowing "natives" to eat them..

  4. You gotta love when they walk on the floor. They like to use their arms and just move themselves along.

  5. This was so much Fun! Thanks BlueWorldTV for letting us come and swim with the manatees. We will definitely become advocates for marine life because you've inspired us with such amazing videos!

  6. I’ve been watching your channel for over 2 years now. You inspired me to get certifed as soon as a was old enough!

  7. I'm so happy! I used to watch this about 4 years ago as I was really into marine biology and I found you! I've been looking for about a month!

  8. welcome to kerala,the southern state of india.it is a land of backwaters..and rich acqua bio diversity..pls come..

  9. jonthan the mail is comming with an epic item i love every vid blue world rules and your our most popular youtuber in my class every day they watch you and they have a messege for you and it is we wish we can meet you in person you the best!

  10. Manatees are my favourite animals and I’ve always wanted to swim with them in florida. They’re such calm, majestic creatures.

  11. Thanks Jonathan for another great video! But I have a couple of questions. First off, how are you not verified yet!?! And my final question is what do you consider yourself? A marine biologist, a researcher, something else? And if you went to school, how many years did it take you to get to here? Thanks again!

  12. Good job! BlueWorldTV, please visit the coastal area of Tamilnadu, a state in South India to film the endangered "dugongs". OMKAR is a small NGO thats really working hard for the mamals.

  13. I'm going down to Florida in Mid-March for a trip and i was looking at swimming with manatees, do you know if they will still be in the crystal river at this time?

  14. I’ve heard that because Manatees like people a lot they usually live Near beaches but because of peoples boats heating them so much the rear

  15. dreamed of swimming with Manatees since I was around 12 when I saw a TV special. all these years later I still have barely been outside my state due to finances. if I had to narrow down a bucket list to just one thing, it would be learning to scuba dive and swim with Manatees. I appreciate your videos so I can live vicariously through them. short of winning the lottery (which I dont play) I will be satisfied snorkeling the local rivers when I can. thanx for the great videos! blessings to you all.

  16. Why did they change the name from Sea Cow to Manatee?

    This always confused me because in the two other language I speak, German and Dutch, they are still simply called Sea cows.

  17. Hello here from Florida. Manatees are beautiful and general. I love them so much I have never been able to swim with them. I rarely get to go to a river though or even near the beach but I love to every chance I get to swim.

  18. I'm in Florida right now and we're about to go snorkeling with manatees! And later this week we're going on an airboat ride looking for Gators! I'm so excited!

  19. Awesome they are my favs, I don't know if I missed you saying this but if you don't mind can you tell me what the difference is between the dugongs and the Sea cows besides their tails? Thanks again for the amazing videos !! God bless

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