CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (WFLA) – On Tuesday, the air in Tampa Bay changed. A lot.
This chill in December didn’t just dip a few degrees, it plummeted in comparison to recent days. Bay Area weather went from a forecast of sunny and flip flops to boots and freezing.
But, while the rest of Tampa Bay searched frantically for coats and sweaters, tourists in Crystal River showed up in shorts and t-shirts.
When it comes to winter temperatures, it’s all a matter of perspective it seems.
Around here, when the cold snaps start, so does big business. The colder, the better for several hot spots in Crystal River. They offer a specific service.
Manatee tours are more popular than ever in the wintertime where hundreds huddle together after making their way to their favorite destination – the crystal clear water of Crystal River.
“You can’t have a better office, just perfect,” said Captain Tim Green who owns Family Adventure Charters.
For this longtime Citrus County business owner, this time of year is the time of year where the cold weather is crucial for his bottom line.
A day at the office is all about sharing one of our greatest treasures with tourists from December through March.
When the manatees make their way to Tampa Bay, so do the tourists.
“We have the spring water here in crystal river, 72-degrees year-round they come here, they’re protected and the water’s warm,” Captain Green told 8 On Your Side.
With a chill in the air and countless manatees in the water they love, Captain Tim says he took tourists out on the water. He showed up bundled up, but his Ohio visitors didn’t.
“They showed up in shorts and a t-shirt,” Captain Tim chuckled.
On every charter, there are extra protocols in place for COVID-19 safety, including temperature and checks, social distancing as well as limited capacity to ensure the safety of each guest.
Captain Tim is watching COVID-19 carefully as the winter months usher in countless tourists.
For this man who knows manatees, there’s eternal optimism on the picture-postcard horizon.
He says he’s hoping guests will continue to make the trek to Crystal River, just like the manatees. He wants people to know that safety is a top priority during this pandemic as he shows guests around the globe one of the most pristine places on earth.
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