WATCH: Underwater encounter with the manatees at Weeki Wachee

Photo courtesy J.M. Kostallas with Kostal Paddle.

WEEKI WACHEE, FL (WFLA) — It’s not every day you get a private swim with a manatee. But this week, J.M. Kostallas, of Clearwater, did just that.

Photo courtesy J.M. Kostallas with Kostal Paddle.
Photo courtesy J.M. Kostallas with Kostal Paddle.

Kostallas, who owns Kostal Paddle, tells News Channel 8 he was on a paddle board tour exploring the Weeki Wachee Springs when he dove right in to say hi to the sea cows on Tuesday. He says he captured the underwater shots using a GoPro camera. The group spotted about 6 manatees and two calves during their trip.

Photo courtesy J.M. Kostallas with Kostal Paddle.
Photo courtesy J.M. Kostallas with Kostal Paddle.

PHOTOS: Florida Manatees 

Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Bryan Bennett says now is a good time to see the manatees in our nearby springs, as manatees seek warmer bodies of water in the “cooler” temperatures. He says the Gulf will warm up to near 75 in April and the manatees will disperse.

Kostallas says he often sees manatees, turtles, dolphins, birds, fish, and even sharks on their trips around Tampa Bay.

Weeki Wachee, in Hernando County, is a popular location to spot manatees. Last fall, a video went viral of a large group of manatees swimming by two paddle boarders in the crystal clear springs of Weeki Wachee.

During an aerial manatee survey held January 12th in Citrus County, there were 1,042 manatees. 

SEE MANATEES: See a list of manatee viewing locations here.


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VIDEO: Manatees snuggle to keep warm in Citrus County provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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