Friday, October 15, 2010

Florida, The Everglades



Map picture


Living in South Florida, I have easy access to one of the most fascinating ecosystem in the United States.


EYW 009 A short drive from my home and about an hour drive from Miami International (MIA) or Ft. Lauderdale Airport (FLL), Everglades Holiday Park offers a quick affordable way to explore a bit of natural Florida.






EYW 007 Arriving at Everglades Holiday Park you may be greeted by one of the proud residents who will have no problem ignoring you.

I have a sense they think they own the place.







EYW 004 


Holiday Park seems to be a “mom and pop” run operation and is often not very busy. This usually gives you an opportunity to stroll the grounds, relax or have some real alligator tidbits before you board your tour.


EYW 005 Your approximately one hour tour begins when you board an aluminum framed airboat powered by two Cadillac V-8 engines.

A bit noisy, so bring ear plugs if you are noise sensitive or request a front seat. However, I think this is a part of the fun on an airboat ride.





EYW 008 This afternoon the weather is typical for a Florida summer afternoon, hot and humid with thunderstorm clouds in the distance.

A few minutes from the dock and we are in the natural part of the Everglades.







EYW 021 Everglades Sawgrass


The waters are calm and at some spots seem impassable blocked by tall sawgrass. With a vibrating thunder the V8’s comes to life and our impassable path gently disappears beneath us.

Hold onto to your hats, you are gliding and sliding across the Everglades at 40-50 miles per hour!



EYW 011 Did you know you can tell the depth of the water here by what grows on top of it?

With a stem growth limit of 6 to 8 feet, it is reasonable to assume this is the depth of the Everglades in areas where it is covered by lily pads.






EYW 025 Leaving the natural area of the Everglades we enter one of the many drenched canals created by the Army Corp of Engineers in a foolish attempt to drain what was at one time believed to be a lake.

Water depths in the canals can reach up to 80 feet.





EYW 014 “Son that’s no rooster, you here me, boy. Pay attention, that’s one of them there Everglades Chicken.”








Mention the Everglades and for most alligators are the first animal that comes to mind. However, the Everglades is also scattered with other wildlife including a wide diversity of birds.

A place few would not be dying to visit is what is known as “Buzzard Island”. From an alive and safe distance we observe the local residents in action.



EYW 018 Officer Barney Buzzard, somewhat camouflaged stands guard in a tree watching for “Gators”.







EYW 019 At the water’s edge Billy Buzzard feeling confident in Barney Fife’s assessment of the situation, takes an afternoon drink.







So far no alligators are spotted although the Everglades reportedly have over one million of them. Our tour guide has a good feeling we will see one before the tour is over but this is not Disneyland.



EYW 030 At first difficult to spot, we are not disappointed as we quietly approach a 6 foot alligator hidden in marsh along the shoreline.

“I see you, but you can’t see me.”





EYW 032 Peek A Boo









EYW 029 Everglades 6 Foot Alligator




EYW 027 We are told this is a “momma gator” and she spends most of her time here.

I pity the fool that comes by at dinner time unaware of her presence.





Everglades Holiday Park is located at the intersection of Griffin Road and US27 both of which have convenient exits from Interstate 75 (Griffin Rd I-75S/US-27) and the Florida Turnpike (US27) .

The park charges about $24 per adult with a 10% AAA or online coupon discount. Motorcycle riders get a 2 for 1 discount.



EYW 039 A free brief “Alligator Show” is offered after your airboat tour where you can even pet one of them for a $5 donation.

Want to spend more than a few hours in the Everglades?

Everglades Holiday Park also offers tent and RV overnight camping and fishing boat rentals are available.


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