Gator greets snorklers in Three Sisters Springs

- An in-water guide at Birds Underwater was on an early-morning manatee tour when an alligator swam toward her.

Brittany Ellis says she was in an area of Three Sisters Springs known as Pretty Sister the morning of Saturday, August 19 when the unexpected encounter happened.

Ellis says she and her group had snorkeled with a manatee in Kings Bay before heading to Three Sisters Springs, “just for fun.”

“It was just my group and I, snorkeling around Pretty Sister, and I'm taking pictures and videos of them and the spring when I see something swimming towards me,” Ellis told FOX 13 News. “I was confused at first because I have never [saw] an alligator in there before, and it didn't look like any manatee or turtle I'd ever seen!”

Ellis said the gator was about 25 feet away when she realized what the slow-moving creature was.

“He was moving slowly and just doing his own thing so I calmly told my group, ‘Now don't be afraid, but I just wanted to let you guys know that there is an alligator in the spring with us,’” Ellis said.

But the group was as intrigued as Ellis and decided to hang round to watch the gator do its thing, from about 30 feet away.

Ellis says the alligator was relaxed and they were careful to not make any sudden movements.

“Enjoying a swim in the spring just like us,” Ellis said.

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