Wow, this is such wonderful experience. Our guide Geoff was knowledgeable, respectful and enthusiastic. On our 2 cypress dome walks he showed us lots of facets of the Everglades that you don't witness walking around the boarded trails let alone zipping by at 70 mph on the roadways of I75. He took the time to explain what he was showing us. Loved seeing the brown water snake napping in a stump and seeing the apple snail eggs on the stalks of grass. The orchids were beautiful even though the butterfly orchids were the only ones in bloom that we saw. I loved seeing how large the cow horn orchids grow. The different ferns and water plants were so varied and interesting they took me back in time, away from the busy paced life we lead. Although we didn't get to see the alligator couple, Snaggletooth (bull) and Princess, it wasn't for the lack of trying. They were just out and about. We did get to see 2 hatchlings by a culvert, juvenile Gar fish and various other fish.
Next stop was a fresh water kayaking trip at 9 mile pond. Paddling through and under bridges of mangrove trees was mesmerizing for me. We saw countless red winged blackbirds, egrets, herons, gulls, a lone kite, hawks, woodpeckers and many more. We did come up upon a 7-8' alligator under a mangrove canopy just watching us cruise by. On our way out of the mangrove trails I got to see an alligator hatchling bobbing in the water among the tall grass. At first I didn't know what it was, it caught my eye because it would disappear under the water and then pop back up after a bit. We watched each other for a while. Saw a soft shell turtle crossing a grassy area headed to the water.
Next stop was Flamingo for our salt water kayaking. We saw a mama crocodile and a couple of babies hanging on the sea wall. We headed out with large thunderheads building all around and got rained on for a bit. We made our way to Snake Bight to see the Roseate Spoonbills gathering together to roost along with a myriad of other shore birds. It was a canvas of pink. We saw many lemon sharks and tarpon chasing the bait fish. 2 salt water crocodiles lazily swam past, what a sight. The water was dead flat calm, making it difficult to be sure where the sea and the sky met. It was soothing and mesmerizing. We made our way back to the point to enjoy a spectacular sunset.
On our drive out of the park we passed an 8-9' python and made a note of the time and location to notify the park officials. We saw owls and other night birds and a couple of other snakes disappearing off the tarmac as we approached.
Kudos to Geoff Scharnow for a spectacular, educational and thought provoking day. Our Everglades are fragile and resilient as long as we don't meddle with what nature has provided. , we need to educate all on this slow meandering river of grass. Ask for Geoff to be your host for the day, his passion for one of the most unique ecosystems is unrivaled.
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