Diving and swimming with real mermaids at the XTC Dive Center in Yucatán, Mexico

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Since the beginning of 2018, the sightings of manatees at the Southern tip of Yucatán have substantially increased!

XTC Dive Center is located right within a large marine sanctuary where the top diving attractions, right in front of their own boat dock, are coral formations with big schools of huge tarpons, and manatees. The behaviour of these manatees (marine mammals with a round caudal fin), which were considered mermaids by European explorers because of their floating-like silhouette resembling of a female swimmer, has changed dramatically.

We have not yet figured out why,” says Javier Salas, owner of the XTC Dive Center, about the new situation, “but we’ve been seeing an increasing amount of manatees for months now.” Sightings of this miraculous, two-meter-long and 250-pound animals are not exceptional in this part of the world, especially as one of the world’s largest herbivore populations lives near the XTC Dive Center.

Manatees are very shy, so encounters between humans and animals were rather rare. “This has now changed fundamentally,” says Salas, “if guests wanted to observe manatees in the past, we went to an intense, time-consuming, and yet mostly frustrating, because unsuccessful, search. Now all one has to do is to dive on our doorstep. Of course, there is still no guarantee to meet one of these elegant swimmers, but the odds have increased manyfold.”

The regularity and frequency of these encounters can no longer be dismissed, so Salas informed the one of Mexico’s leading researcher on Manatees. Together, he and his team are now looking for causes, global warming for example, higher and thus less favourable water levels, changing feeding habits. No one knows what consequences will come out the findings. “But until then, we are pleased to be able to offer our guests a new – old – highlight at our dive center,” explains Javier Salas with a wink, “so anyone who wants to dive with the real mermaids – now is the opportunity! At the XTC Dive Center in Yucatán, Mexico!

The XTC Dive Center is located in the very south of the Yucatán Peninsula, and is also well known among many divers hungry for adrenalin-infused dives, because it is the starting point for trips to the offshore Banco Chinchorro atoll, where you can snorkel with saltwater crocodiles.

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