Monday, February 10, 2014

Everglades III

Everglades Gulf Coast Visitor's Center
Each day as we sat down in the evening I'd say, "The airboat ride was the highlight of the trip."  Or, "The boardwalks were the highlight."  But at the end I have to say that it was the guided boat ride through the mangrove swamps that truly amazed me.
We left from the Everglades Gulf Coast Visitor Center around 3 in the afternoon.  The boat could carry 6, but there were just 4 of us, Mac and me and a couple from China, plus the Captain.  We headed out through the Estuary, a very shallow bay that was  often only 6 feet deep, and at times we had to go very slow because we were entering manatee areas.  Never saw any, but we had to go slowly anyway.
Our Boat for the Guided Trip
From the estuary we headed towards the Turner River and the mangrove forests.  There are 3 types of mangroves, red, black and and white. They all look very much alike though.   Mangroves are very distinctive because of their prop roots spreading every where and looking "snakey" as all get out.  They provide stability for the tree and take in extra oxygen.
Heading Into the Mangroves
Click to see the "snakey" roots
While heading towards the mangrove tunnels, where the trees would grow so thickly they'd form tunnels that our boat could barely navigate, we saw osprey, one feeding on a fish it had caught and one near its nest which was huge.  We also saw a bald eagle, but the osprey drove it off, they're very territorial.  We also saw shell mounds left by the Calusa Indians (also known as the Shell Indians because of their use of shells and and mounds they left) who use to inhabit this area before the Spanish came.  They were a rather warlike tribe that were eventually descimated by war and disease.
Shell Mounds
Once in the tunnels we saw Tri-color Herons, alligators (though only a couple) and flocks of Ibis that would take flight as we moved slowly through the water.  They couldn't fly high because of the enclosing branches and it all looked like highlights from a National Geographic special.  I was totally in awe.  Mac started snapping pictures with our camera and I grabbed my i-phone and stated clicking away.  It was incredible.
Osprey Nes
Heron

Mangrove Tunnel

Ibis in flight

More Ibis
Osprey
The whole trip took nearly 2 hours and I would have done again the next day if we'd had time.

4 comments:

  1. Another trip that Jules and I would love. You do seem to have had a wonderful time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great pics Janet and I must say that am fascinated by the Everglades. Not that I shall ever cross the pond.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, what a great trip to the Everglades. My husband and I love the birds, wish we could have gone along with you! And I wish I could be in Florida RIGHT NOW, this ice is for the birds. HA!

    ReplyDelete

Another Sign of Christmas

My Christmas cactus is blooming, well at least one of them is, I don't know what the others are doing, planning on being Easter cacti pe...