Friday, February 13, 2009

The Everglades

It was up early this morning and into the car with a stop at starbucks and we were off to the Everglades.

We had arranged to have a private airboat tour of the Everglades with Captain Parker Priest. He has a small airboat that nicely fit the seven of us.

Captain Parker certainly knew his portion of the Everglades. He took us through wide and narrow channels, stopped to let use see alligators (for those of you that don't remember the difference between alligators and crocodiles he told us that crocs prefer salt or brackish water and alligators prefer fresh water), snakes, turtles and birds.

Although the alligators were quite amazing - we saw them at rest, swimming, and moving through the underbrush - it was the birds that were most interesting to me.

There were all kinds of birds and every colour. I especially liked to see the large birds taking off and soaring right in front of us.

We encountered a few teenaged birds and alligators. They were hold their spot right in front of the airboat and only move at the last minute - nature's natural game of chicken.

Captain Parker took us by a number of 'camps.' These houses, built on stilts, were built by squatters in the middle of the everglades. Evidently according to some negotiations 77 of them were allowed to stay on a 20 year lease beginning in 2000. Although they weren't much more than elevated wooden shacks the ones we saw had barbecues and satellite dishes.

Two hours of this was enough and we headed for the Festival Fleamarket Mall. Typical Florida - old people looking for shlocky bargains. Although we did find something we needed - decent sunglasses that were also 'readers' - magnifying glasses. NOw I will be able to read outside on the cruise.

Our friends Danny and Darlene are coming for dinner tonight

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