Probably one of the best experiences yet – to be able to swim with these beautiful creatures and interact with them was an incredible opportunity. If you ever get the change to swim with manatees, please do!
The group of us girls went on a private tour since there were eight of us. We were extremely lucky in that we came across a mommy and a baby that were willing to hang around us for a bit. The baby was super playful, while the mom was a little bit more concerned with chomping on here seaweed. The baby would swim up and down just wanting to be pet.
We went through a company called River Ventures. I would highly recommend this company! The guides and staff was amazing; our guide actually got in the water with the tourists. Our guides name was Captain Ed; we all loved him! This was extremely helpful for optimal interactions with the manatees (not all companies have guides that get in the water with you). He gave advice as we were in the water with the manatees which enabled us to have a great time with these beautiful animals.
Overall advice: bring warm clothes for after (on the boat and to change in once your are back), consider getting or using an underwater digital camera (I use a Olympus TG820), remember to stay calm in the water — as the guides will remind you, the people who have the best experiences are the calmest in the water (consider trying out a snorkel before you go, so you are already adjusted to the breathing style).