Manatee Scenic Cruises

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Manatee Scenic Cruises

Manatee Scenic Cruises

Manatee Scenic Cruises

Manatee Scenic Cruises

 

All Aboard!

From the moment you board the colorful Manatee, you know this is going to be a very different boating experience. I mean, it’s a vessel named after Florida’s famed sea cow, which is an enticing enough reason to give it a whirl.

Captain John Henry starts the cruise by giving us instructions on where we can locate our life jackets, should the need arise. Captain John has a sense of humor as well. New rules he says, allow the Captain to go first in any emergency, referring to a recent accident where Captain of the vessel was the first to abandon ship.

“If you see me jump, follow me!” he says to the delight of everyone onboard.

The two hour, 25 mile journey, will take us south to New Smyrna Beach through the pristine waters of the Indian River and into the most biologically diverse estuary in North America.

Other than the namesake mascot painted on the boat, we didn’t see manatee on this cruise. The Indian River is brimming with them in January and February as they seek warmer water, but it’s a delightful treat to see them other times of the year.

couple watching dolphin on the Manatee Scenic CruiseWhile we didn’t spot manatee, everyone was thrilled to see several pods of bottle-nosed dolphin. No one onboard wanted to miss a photo opportunity, so we stopped several times to watch them frolic in the water. Dolphin are warm-blooded mammals that can stay underwater up to 15 minutes. They are also great communicators and social creatures that often assist each other in raising their offspring and in searching for food.

While Captain John is sailing the Manatee, First Mate Joshua Winland provides information on the passing scenery that’s as colorful as the vessel itself. You’ll pass several rookeries, islands where aquatic birds live and breed. Pelicans, egrets and herons are everywhere.

Smyrna Dunes Park as seen from the ManateeThe River comes alive with people fishing on docks that line the waterway. As the boat passes Smyrna Dunes Park, we see people walking and playing with their dogs right on the beach. Smyrna Dunes is a dog park where you can bring your best friend, as long as you pick up after him and walk him on a leash.

day_Manatee_HomesNSBwebJoshua is quick to point out all the celebrity homes that line the Intracoastal here. Former Charlie’s Angel Kate Jackson has a waterfront estate here as does baseball great Cal Ripken, Jr. who played with the Baltimore Orioles for more than two decades. And Tennis Legend John McEnroe has a home here as well. His boat, the aptly named Match Point, sits in front of his estate. Finally, there’s the home that Singer Gregg Allman bought for Cher during their short marriage. It’s rumored that son Chaz owns it now.

If you want a different perspective of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, you’ll get that onboard. Be sure to bring your camera! You won’t want to miss a single shot!

~ Deborah Boyd

The Manatee
133 Inlet Harbor Road
Ponce Inlet, FL 32127
800-881-2628
www.ManateeCruise.com

All credit cards accepted. Reservations required.

 

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