Thursday, February 9, 2012

Florida Everglades

The Everglades is a Florida “must see” it is so diverse that where to explore it is a challenge. However, once again relying on the advice of friends, we decided to do an East side/West side exploration. So heeding their advice we first headed into the (East) Everglades just south of Miami at Royal Palms and started our tour on the Anhinga trail – the Anhinga is a relative of the Cormorant (popularly known as “ducky divers”). This proved a wise choice and is by far the best spot to explore the Everglades. We saw so many alligators that we stopped counting them. The trail is on a man-made boardwalk that runs in a mile long circle and every foot has wild birds or animals close by. There were many large Blue Heron, Ibis, Egrets, Cormorants, Ospreys and other birds of prey; several had their wings spread out to dry in the sun, fascinatingly, the Anhinga's wings are like piano notes!

We saw an Anhinga spear a fish with its beak (that's how they catch fish); they then flip it up in the air and swallow it whole. In one spot we saw what looked like a nation of alligators, some were lying around sunning themselves, others swimming with only their snouts above water – and…can they can move given the room! It is difficult to describe the diversity of the terrain, in the Everglades a slight incline (think 6”) can create a totally different environment of vegetation, with perhaps a little hill of trees (oak and cedar called hammock); the next level down has grass which may grow under or over water and then below water level mangrove trees which are like trees with legs.
A few days later we drove across to the west side of the Everglades on Highway 41 which goes right through the Everglades and has lots of alligators along the canal at the side of the road.  We stayed on an island called Chokoloskee, definitely a fisherman’s paradise. When we arrived at the RV Park in Chokoloskee (at about 2pm) we were both ravenously hungry, it was a late-late lunch. Tom started on the hook ups while Adele prepared lunch and as it was a warm sunny day with hardly any shade we extended the awning to sit in the shade of the RV. This meant that we both had to sit on the same side of our patio table – a two-sided bench with an attached table. Once Tom's bottom hit the seat (Adele was already seated) over we fell backwards, heels-over- head. The bench was so tight and small that we can't stand so…we slowly tumble backwards and our lunch lands on top of us - large iced drinks, fruit and sandwiches - we end up soaked wet and the food is covered with sand. Adele scraped her back, Tom scraped his elbow and we both just lie there laughing happy that neither of us is hurt. Extracting ourselves from under the table took some maneuvering, if someone had been videoing we think we would have won a prize on Americas Funniest Videos! 

We will never again sit on the same side of the table.
The west side of the Everglades is the watery side and from there we took an airboat tour of the Everglades, out to an island and then into the mangrove swamps - the boat can move on 6'' of water. The drawback is that the big engine and fan make a lot of noise, not too many animals (or humans) like that loud sound so it was more of a boat ride than sight-seeing animals.

One evening Tom went for a run and I decided to pick him up so that we could watch the sunset, we met a couple from South Dakota who were very disappointed that we were not the genuine article. We chatted away about the places we have visited so far; all the while unknown to us “no-see-ums” were feasting on Toms legs and arms – after a couple of weeks he still looks like he has the measles.

No comments:

Post a Comment