100 Ton Master Captain Traci Wood

Owner/Operator of the Homosassa Manatee Snorkeling Center, LLC.

I was born in my 28th year, coming home to where I had been only once before.  I visited the manatees in March of 1999, had some interaction with the manatees, and afterwards, I was sobbing so hard, that speech was nearly impossible.  Right then,I decided to move, and about 2 months Iater, I moved from Clarkston, Michigan, to Crystal River Florida, to begin my dream come true, to work with and around the manatees!

I remember exactly what it is like, to sit on the boat with anticipation and a little fear of finally seeing the manatees, up close and in person. I was certainly excited but also a bit apprehensive as well.  The manatees are huge, and I, just like most of our customers, had the same reaction.

I have decided to use my experience, knowledge and passion to share this amazing experience with my customers and raising awareness about the manatees. Upon my arrival, I took some marine mammal classes, met several people in the field, got my Captain's License, and started out very small. I have moved several times, trying to find the right spot, and finally, 4 years ago, I have landed at our newest, and last location, at Homosassa Manatee Snorkeling Center, in Homosassa.

I certainly consider myself lucky to have found a career doing something I love every day and sharing it with people from all over the world gives me a feeling that I truly cannot describe.

During the past 21 years of providing amazing experiences for friends, families, school groups, educational groups, and people from "everywhere", we have expanded to 5 boats in our fleet.

All of our captains greatly enjoy what they do and consider it a privilege to be able to share what we love with all of you.

We recycle, use biodegradable cups and trash bags.  We believe it is important to protect our environment and that of the manatees and all of our wildlife.

25 Ton Master Captain Deneen "D" Obuchowski

Originally from Chicago, Homosassa has been a second home to me! My first visit was at age 3, then, in my teens, I was able to spend my summers in Homosassa, then as an adult, I was able to share with my daughter, the place I love the most...I have so many fond memories of the area.

In the summer of 2021, on a "Memory Lane" trip with my daughter, I was finally able to check swimming with the manatees off of my bucket list, with my daughter! I have love these gentle creatures for as long as I can remember, so on this trip, I found the Homosassa Manatee Snorkeling Center, and booked our Mother/Daughter adventure. I had no idea, at the time, how much it would change my life....

Upon returning home to Chicago, I found myself yearning to be on that beautiful river, and with the wonderful manatees. I decided to contact Captain Traci, and asked her how to start my new path of becoming a boat captain. I was very impressed with her ethics and eagerness to share this experience with others, and that she would be a great mentor. Boy was I right about that, so I got busy making arrangements and by September 2021, I had made my move to Homosassa!

Jumping ahead - I now have my 25 Ton Master Captain's License, and my dream job. I work with some very talented and incredible people, Captain Traci Wood and Captain Laci Gist, who are always willing to teach me something new. I have met all kinds of wonderful people since I have moved here and they have all helped make Homosassa my new home.

I work hard all the time to be the best tour captain, learning all that I can about these gentle giants, and history around us, to bring our customers the best experience that I can. Every tour is a new adventure, and I get to meet people from all over the world. I hope when they return home, they will share their experience with others, and what they have learned, to help bring awareness, preservation, and education about the manatees to future generations.