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Review of Bird's Underwater

Bird's Underwater
Ranked #4 of 52 Tours in Crystal River
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Bird's Underwater Dive Center offer manatee snorkel tours, waterfront location, Swimming with the manatees in Crystal River, small group 6 person only tours with meals included, Manatee surface tours, Manatee educational tours, Manatee Awareness Program, Manatee Dives, Manatee Photography underwater, Manatee Photography above the water, Kayak rental, Kayaking with the endangered manatees in Crystal River, Florida, Enclosed Pontoon boats, snacks, Paddle boarding with the manatees, Group manatee tours, School Field Trip Manatee Tours, Handicap access to view or swim with the manatees, Waterfront Vacation Rental Houses in Homosassa, Fl. Manatee swims from Vacation Rental Houses in Homosassa, Kayaks included with nightly vacation rental houses, Kayaking in Homosassa, Fl. Dolphin sightings, early morning manatee tours, Late afternoon Manatee Tours. Scallop Tours, Scallop gear Sales, Scallop education. Scuba diving sales, Scuba Diving Instruction, Snorkel Equipment sales, Cavern Diving, Cavern Diving Instruction, Cave diving instruction, Nitrox instruction, Tri-Mix instruction, re-breather diving instruction. Members of Manatee Eco Tourism Association, Better Business Bureau, and Citrus County Tourism Division. Owned by Bill (Bird) and Diana Oestreich since 1993. Bill "Bird" and Diane Oestreich moved to Crystal River in 1989 and began teaching scuba diving and offering manatee snorkel tours. At that time there were only 3 hotels, one independent shop, and about 100 manatees that came to Citrus County in the winter months. Since then, Manatees have increased to over 1000 manatees in Citrus County alone in the winter, and there is an average population of about 35 manatees that remain in Kings Bay in the summer months. The Manatee Awareness Program was set up by Bird and Diana Oestreich in 1990 with the dive agency NAUI, then PADI, and now SDI offers the same program. They offer quality and personalized manatee tours with experienced and insured boat captains, all of which are at Divemaster level or higher. Manatee Tours average about 3 hours, but they do not have a set time in which they "pull" the customers out of the water in order to run another tour. All tours include drinks and snacks. Private tours include a full meal. Bird's Underwater Dive Center is located on the Kings Bay of Crystal River. You do not have to drive to a separate location to be on the water. Bird's Underwater is located on the dock behind the Dockside Trading Company. We are next to Charlies Fish House restaurant, and walking distance from Crackers restaurant. The Dockside Deli is located in the same parking lot. Main Street or Citrus Avenue is 2 blocks to the south, the Crystal River Mall is 1/4 mile north.
Reviewed May 30, 2013

I recommend the early tour. You'l see more mannetees. Its the best place in florida to find them. The guide is very nice and energetic even though its morning. Keep in mind the warmer it get the smaller the chance to find them. I went in may and saw a group of four.

Thank Jeroen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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658 - 662 of 1,038 reviews

Reviewed May 26, 2013

Took the 6:15 AM tour as the TA reviewers recommended - this is the best chance of seeing manatees while there is less water activity. Bird's were well organised and the trip was not rushed - ran well over time. Our Capt used all his knowledge to find the manatees (end of April and a lot of the manatees have headed out for the summer). Found the manatees, saw sea otters, lot of birds, fish in the springs.
Bird's boats are small - this gives a better experience.

Thank MikeB16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2013

It's was a perfect tour. Our captain was trying to get the very best manatee experience for us out of the trip even though the weather was really bad. She took very good care of us and didn't let us into the water when lightning came up. Instead she jumped into the water to get some great pics for the film. There was another company close by our boat and the captain didn't get his people out of the water by the time the lightning came close. I don't think this is a good idea.
Moreover there were not too many people in our tour. The boat of the other company instead was crowded.

Thank mimaE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2013 via mobile

They provide all necessary equipment (wetsuit, snorkel gear) and explain all the rules and regulations. We set out with Captain Chris. She was very nice and really had to look for manatees for us. Its off-peak in the middle of May, so we weren't expecting anything. She found one for us to swim with, and it was a beautiful experience. We did see several others, but Captain Chris got out of the boat first to see if the manatee was in the mood to interact or not, and I'm glad that she didn't allow everyone in the water right away to bombard a creature that wanted nothing to do with people. After having that up-close experience with such a magnificent animal, I have a whole new respect for them.

Thank kparisi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2013

We visit Siesta Key/Sarasota every year and decided to make the 2 1/2 drive to Crystal River to swim with the manatees. The start time is early around 6:15 am which made it an early morning to get there but it was more than worth it. The folks at Bird's were helpful and cheerful as they helped us suit up that morning. We were on a boat with Captain Donna and I have to say she was amazing. Not only does she do her job exceptionally well she truly cares about these gentle creatures and makes sure that the manatees are respected while providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience to those on her boat. In fact we picked Bird's over the other tour companies due to their reputation as respecting both the manatees and the environment first and foremost and they certainly lived up to that well deserved reputation. Captain Donna made sure we had the best experience possible and made sure we saw lots of beautiful manatees. She is such a hands on Captain and was the first one in the water showing us where to go and what to do to get the most personal experience possible. I cannot recommend Bird's highly enough and hope that anyone reading this will give Bird's Underwater a try as it was such a memorable experience and we will certainly be doing it again on our next trip to Florida.

Thank Dr_and_MrsPLUStwo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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