Everglades - Everglades City, FL
Today we did it all. At least a lot of it. I have wanted
to go to the everglades on previous visits to Florida, but we were either
too far away, didn't have enough time, or it was god-awful hot. Well,
the weather today was warm but breezy, and we set off for the everglades.
A triple header tour offered us a pontoon boat ride, an airboat trip, and
a tram ride.
The airboat alone was an experience.
Propelled by a huge fan the boat skims along the top of the water at very
rapid speeds. We were in the mangrove wilderness which looked identical
to me to the one we visited in Australia a few years back. We watched
a mother osprey feeding her youngsters in their nest.
A few alligators, some ringtail raccoons and a lot of water made for an
Next we joined about a dozen pelicans and
three folks from Switzerland on the pontoon boat. The captains mate
had cut up fish to feed the pelicans which promptly brought them from the
roof of the pontoon boat to the railings. My terror of birds, like
of the parakeet Ray’s family had when we first met, rose to new heights
when the pelicans joined us and spread their wings appreciatively when
they were fed the fish. Wisely, although we were on board first,
we had not chosen the front seats which were not under the awning/roof.
A short distance into the trip the captain stopped the motor and
let us drift in the river where manatees
are abundant. We were rewarded with four of them practically within
arms length. I have been trying to get a glimpse of them in the wild
since we arrived where they are. These endangered species sea mammals
are fascinating, and I really wanted a glimpse of them. It was a
Next we visited a different family of ring-tailed
raccoons who rushed to the approaching pontoon boat. These swamp
dwellers pull small black crabs from their homes in the mud to eat them,
but they rushed to the boat for the doggie bones which were thrown to them.
A lack of alligators on the river didn't stop the captain's
assistant from bringing out Spike, his pet year and
a half old alligator. The burly Swiss gentleman opted to hold Spike
when encouraged. Spike's owner asked the Swiss repeatedly to hold
Spike less vigorously, but the request wasn't in his list of familiar phrases,
and his grip on Spike did not lessen. Thus agitated Spike proceeded
to urinate in a wide area all over the Swiss lady's purse. Once again,
I was so glad we weren't in the front seat.
The third leg of our adventure was called a tram ride, but it is
really a big truck that resembles the troop trucks used in World War II
but with seats. A plastic awning suspended by roll bar like pipes
the length of the vehicle protects you from the sun. The waterway
we followed in the tram was abundant in wildlife. Fish so numerous
you could reach out and catch them, and so many alligators of all sizes
that we lost count. A few turtles and some turkey vultures rounded
out our ride, with the driver apologizing the whole time about not seeing
any deer. We could care less as deer were such destructive visitors
to our property in Lafayette.