Friday, June 1, 2007

The Florida Everglades

Sorry for the unexpected intermission, but internet connectivity has elluded us for the last few days. Whether it was the Everglade City Motel or the Key West Holiday Inn, the net was unavailable and Paul and I were forced to drink mojitos.

It's a rough life on the road.

So now its time to catch up. This blog will be about our trip into the Florida Everglades.

I'm told that Florida has many redeeming qualities, but roads are not on the list. Florida roads are notoriously straight and uninteresting, at least outside of the context that riding is always a good use of time. Then again, those roads often lead us to really interesting places. In this case, they led us to "Everglades Airboat"

Everglades Airboat is one of a number of companies that runs airboat excursions through the Florida swamps.

Paul and I got into a boat with Captain Ron, who hopefully has nothing to do with the really bad movie with Kurt Russell and Martin Short. He drove through the water like a kid on a go kart track!

On those occassions that we did slow down, we ran into some interesting stuff. For instance, mangrove trees.

Mangrove trees extend further and further into the water by dropping new roots a foot or so from their current branches. Their seeds drop like little depth charges into the water, and if they hit the bottom, there is another tree!

There are many aligators in the swamp. The main difference between a gator and a crock being the aligators are fresh water. During our tour, we came across this aligator's nest.

The aligators make these mounds, then lay fifty or so eggs in them. Apparently dad will eventually come back and eat many of his children. Still, a dozen or so avoid this fate and hang out with mom for up to eighteen months as they grow into adulthood.

We met a couple of these gators, "Stubby" and "Crazy". Stubby is a male aligator, who through some accident lost his tail, and the new one didn't quite come back.

And crazy, well, she's just crazy. Apparently she likes to sneak up on the tourists and threaten to jump into the boat with them. This has made many a Japanese tourist climb the fan of the airboat and cling for dear life until she's left.

Captain Ron apparently has no such problems with crazy, and likes to taunt both of them into snappng at him for pictures. We don't want her to bite him, but we are happy for the pictures.

Soon enough, we are back on the swamp to meet the other interesting creatures and plant life.

As you can see, Paul is the intrepid swamp photographer.
The grassy waters make their own roads. Here you see the one less traveled.

There is also a great deal of bird life to see. Between the speed of the boat and the speed of the birds, its not always easy to get a picture. However, we did have some good luck!

But alas, our three hour tour comes to an end. (okay, it was a one hour tour, but I had to get in one Gilligan's Island reference!) and we return to our motorcycles, enjoying their tropical break.

All and all, the air boat was the highlight of the day!

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