Airboats and Alligators

Ok so I guess I wasn’t on dry land for long. Off the cruise ship in the morning onto the airboat in the afternoon.

This airboat was different from any I’d been on before. This one was enclosed so there were no bulky ear protectors to muffle the sound.

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There was also no wind in your face or water in your lap. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this.

I tried to manuver around the groups that wanted to sit together so that I could get a seat on one of the ends so I could take pictures. A good-sized man and his family scooted over so I could have a seat next to them so I had my prime spot. Now it would all depend on where the animals were.

We cast off with a roar ramping up to a pretty good speed. The operator zigged and zagged so spray would fly in all directions then just as quickly he killed the motor and we drifted into a clump of razor grass. While we sat there our guide explained about the eco system of the Everglades…how it isn’t a swamp, the water is not stagnant, how fragile it is even touching on some of the problems of invasive species. Then he reached over to start up the boat so we cold look for the main attraction, alligators, but nothing happened.

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After trying a couple of times more he called the main office for a rescue. While we waited he told us stories about his childhood growing up in the glades and how the sun is your friend. If you are ever lost in the Everglades after dark it won’t be alligators and snakes you need to worry about…it will be the “skeeters”. As he went on about the “Skeeters” and what would happen at dusk we watched the sun sink lower and lower on the horizon. Just about the time we thought we should get out and start wading/swimming back, the rescue airboat arrived.

Lashed to the side of the new comer we all climbed over the side and into the new  boat. All safely aboard we set off again. We hadn’t gone far when we heard our disabled airboard start up! Ok well at least it was a story to tell…Rescue in the Everglades.

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The rest of the trip was uneventful. We saw several alligators and learned about the role temperature plays in determining the sex of the babies. Also the affect climate change seems to be having on the eco-system.

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In one of the cuts we saw a little back and red bird that seemed to hop over the big leaved plants. The plants looked like water lilies but our guide said they were not even related. He said he had saved the little bird as a chick and raised it at his home only releasing it as an adult. Sure enough, when he called it, it came.

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We spent a bit of time feeding the bird and then it was time to head back. As always the time was too short for me. I wonder if I could get a job as an airboat operator???

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