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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Our Everglades Experience – Part IV

Back at the entrance I located a tri-coloured heron fishing in a ditch and was just in the process of photographing it when I was alerted to the fact that I was being approached from behind by an eight-foot alligator. It had decided to move from one body of water to another, passing by a few feet to my left. Fortunately it was far more interested in the fish than in me!

At 5pm we met up for the briefing prior to our evening kayak trip. The group leader gave us an idea of what to expect and told us not to panic if we fell in the water because the alligators were more interested in fish than in humans – just as I thought. We drove to an area from where the kayaks could be launched and then we were away. What a relaxing feeling it is to be out paddling a kayak on a tranquil stretch of water, with just the odd fish leaping out of the water around us – apparently they have jumped straight into the kayaks before now.

We were taken towards a mass of vegetation and had to paddle our way through a tunnel of mangrove roots – not too difficult. But the tunnels got narrower and narrower until there was no room to paddle and you had to just grab the mangrove roots and pull the kayak along. At the same time the light was fading and head torches were required to throw a small amount of light on to the mangroves ahead. Eventually we came out into open water and spent some time just observing the sky. With the head torches turned off, and no light pollution whatsoever, the night sky was just incredible. I have never before seen the sky quite so full of stars, and the planet Venus also clearly visible.

After a while we began to head back for shore. As we paddled back pairs of red and orange lights could be seen around us reflecting back the light from the head torches. We learned that these were the eyes of the alligators. Apparently the eyes of male alligators shine red and those of females shine orange – or was it the other way round? In any event it was an exiting way to round off our trip to the Everglades and it is to be recommended to anyone with an interest in the natural world.

Contact details :-

Rod and Gun Club Restaurant
200 Riverside Drive
PO Box 190
Everglades City
Florida 34139

Tel : 239 695 2101

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Page added on: 7 July 2008
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