a visit to the Everglades

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Sat 5 Jun 2010 23:45
Today we went with Nadene & Rob for a ride on an airboat on the Everglades - about 30 minutes drive west of Miami.  Covered from head to toe in sunscreen and bug spray we set off on our adventure - the lovely lady from Garmin providing the directions.
The Everglades are a vast subtropical wetlands in the southern part of Florida which is fed and flooded by the extensive Kissimmee, Caloosahatchee, Myakka and Peace rivers.  The sawgrass and cypress swamps are very shallow and navigation is only really possible by airboat. These flat bottomed boats are powered by what looks like an aeroplane engine - with the accompanying propellers and loud noise - (but are actually modified V8 car engines) The massive 'fans' allow the boats to zoom across the surface of the water and often you cant see any water - you are just  floating right across the grass.
Airboat                                                                                                         Purple Gallinule
The real reason people come here, is to check out the alligators. Of course they are hiding in the middle of the day, and well warned of human approaches by the very noisy airboats. So other than some beautiful birds, the main wildlife experience was back at the tour offices.
There was one really fat alligator - apparently all the big ones are male! ..and then we also had a chance to pick up a small one - who looked pretty bored with all the attention. I was amazed as how smooth and soft the belly felt - which I believe is the bit that is used for shoes and bags.
We then went to the snack bar to try out some Alligator nuggets and deep fried frogs legs. Yip.. you read right .. quite a little hillbilly thing going on down here. Here is Mike holding up what was clearly a large frog.  But I am please to report, that like all weird food stuffs, both tasted like chicken!