Swimmers thrilled as friendly manatee meets up with eagle ray
There is a magical place in Belize called the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. It is a protected area on the reef, but it is completely wild and animals come and go freely. The reserve is simply an area divided into zones and it is fiercely protected by authorities and those who use it.
Dive masters bring students and seasoned divers here for a unique encounter with wildlife that would have to be seen to be believed. Even snorkelers can experience a close up view of sharks, rays, huge fish, and large sea turtles.
A group of snorkelers was treated to something incredible when a beautiful manatee swam through the marine reserve. Curious and friendly, it decided to circle around and give them a close look. It was unconcerned with their presence and allowed photos and videos for several hours. The swimmers could barely contain themselves and it was a very emotional experience as they swam with this rare and majestic animal.
Manatees are among the most gentle of all marine creatures, despite their impressive size. They can grow to 1,800lbs and measure 12 feet in length.
Sightings are rare, even in a protected area such as this, but to have the experience of spending hours alongside a manatee in the open ocean is almost unheard of.
The whole town of San Pedro was talking about this manatee later. The swimmers in this video were the envy of all who heard the stories, saw the pictures or watched the videos.
This interaction is a perfect example of how a slow and cautious approach, as well as keeping a respectful distance, will allow an experience like no other.
As if the manatee alone were not enough, a Spotted Eagle Ray slowly glided through the area and circled around, as if it was also curious about the manatee.
What is the most remarkable about this video is how calm the manatee was. It swims leisurely among and around the people, completely relaxed.