Of course most of you know about our experience on Christmas Eve in the Everglades. I never thought, I would step foot in there again after the way we we’re treated. It was an enjoyable day. I had a great time learning about different species.
But this is how my story goes:
On Saturday, while heading to our hair appointments along US41, we noticed several places to stop and take an air boat ride through the Everglades. Bryce said maybe next week we should come take a airboat ride. We couldn’t stop today because I had a hair appointment in Naples. And of course, the next day was the Miami boat show. It sure was a busy weekend. But I am getting side tracked; back to the Everglades. So the day came and we headed back up to to take an airboat ride. Actually I was excited about it and I was getting over the Christmas Eve incident. We arrived and Bryce went in and bought our tickets; $24.00 each.
I just couldn’t believe my eyes, I saw a few gators. The rush of the airboat ride was awesome. They gave us ear plugs to block out the air motor sound. The engine and propeller was incredibly loud. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the ride. But running over the natural vegetation of the Everglades seemed a bit odd, because in Florida you can’t run over sea grass, coral, sand dune grass and almost anything else that lives.
When I asked the draft of the airboat the young man held his hand up and said only a few inches. We had fun doing spin outs going through the marsh sideways. We saw a number of birds and alligators. They seemed to be indifferent to the extremely noisy air boat.
This photo shows everyone getting ready for the ride. Notice the huge propeller at the rear of the boat In the circular cage. This propeller blows air backwards and causes the boat to go forward, similar to a small airplane.
This is the view from where we pulled off. It is such a pretty view and if you look really close the guide said, you will always see something.
I wasn’t nervous or anything. But it had been raining so I put on a poncho. This was a great ride. We had never been on an airboat ride so we were looking forward to it.
The airboat was capable of going most anywhere in the Everglades. The jet pump on our jet ski would get instantly plugged up if we tried to run through marsh grass like this.
Our tour guide was great.. He was very knowledgeable about the Everglades. He would periodically stop and explain about the birds, gators, snakes and such. He commented on the invasive species such as pythons. Here is another picture of smaller air boats.
This is a diving bird. I have to laugh; I think this could be Bryce’s favorite bird. He likes to watch them dive and eat the fish. This bird is drying his wings as we drive by. These birds swim underwater as fast as the fish!! In the clear waters, we often see them swimming under water.
I think this alligator is curiously watching us drive by. Perhaps wondering which of us would make a tasty meal.
After we arrived back to the docking area we were told our tickets included a informative discussion about the local inhabitants. We were told the difference between Crocodiles and Alligators. Apparently, most Alligators like fresh water and Crocodiles like salt water. This little guy could grow to be 18 feet long.
In its natural habitat, the alligator can roam free. The gator was almost to extinction, now there is a limited control on how many gators can be killed. Now the gator is on a rebound from the possibility of extinction. They seem to just lay around waiting to eat. Sounds like our cat George.
This is a cockatoo Parrot very pretty and like George, likes to have his head rubbed.
No blog would be complete without a picture of me holding an alligator. He looks quite happy doesn’t he!! Dang air boat frizzed up my hair.
I had to ask about the Florida Panther because we kept seeing these signs along the road.
I asked the ranger who was hosting the show about the Florida Panther. Florida has 110 Panthers there use to be only 40 but they brought some in and they are mating and the population is growing but the issue is there just isn’t enough room for them to live. This Panther is a stuffed one on display.
The big Cypress Swamp is one of the last homes for the Florida Panthers. It was an enjoyable day. I had a great time learning about different species.
If you prefer to see dolphins and manatees, there are numerous boats like these that follow the Dolphins so sightseers can snap a picture. We watched many of these boats racing through the shallows near where we were anchored in search of dolphins. Twin 200 HP motors on these boats really pushed them along. Two sharp outboard rotating props dropping three feet into the shallow waters seems a bit unsafe to wild life.
So now a short rant before we close this post. On Christmas Eve, we were ordered out of the Everglades because we towed a jet ski in behind our boat. The park ranger said the reason jet skis are not allowed in the park is they are noisy and scare wild life. The jet pumps can harm wild life.
So now the National Park service allows of hundreds of air boats, which is the noisiest boat ever made, run all over the Everglades trampling swamp grass. And they allow hundreds of large High powered tour boats chase down manatees and Dolphins plowing through the shallows with dangerous rotating props that rip apart anything in their path so that tourists can snap pictures with their phones.
I don’t think the National Park Service has their facts straight. So now we have a jet ski with enclosed prop, that cannot cut wild life unlike the tour boats. We have a newer jet ski that is the quietest jet ski ever made (quieter than most boats and much quieter than any air boat) and little evidence that any noise scares wild life. And our jet ski cannot go through sea grass or swamp grass (unlike the tour boats and air boats) because it would plug the jet pump in seconds. So our jet ski cannot go into NPS waters???