Wednesday March 23rd 2022
My day began early so I could make another attempt at booking a Florida State Park stay for next winter. Much to my amazement I was successful. It was a different state park than the one I’ve been trying to book for the last two weeks, but it is a good park I’ve been to before. I will attempt to fill the two weeks at an Army Corp of Engineers park when the booking window opens in August or else I’ll reserve a commercial park somewhere in the state.
The major activity for the day was a ninety minute boat tour into the Everglades back country. They use a relatively small pontoon boat for the task. There are only a total of six passengers with the captain. In my case the other five passengers were a family of five from a Spanish speaking country visiting the United States. The mom and dad spoke reasonable English, but the three kids under five years old barely communicated in any language. They were good kids. All they seemed to care about was the boat ride not the scenery.
The kids had it right. The scenery and wildlife on the tour were not that remarkable. The tour starts by heading north along the man made dredged canal. This is the area all of the American Crocodiles and manatees can usually be spotted. The boat captain tried to talk up all of the crocodiles that are along the canal, but only managed to find three on the journey. The ones that are out of the water are well back in the mangroves that line the banks. We didn’t see any manatee and only saw a couple of egrets.
The canal empties into a large body of salt water. The tour boat cut right across Coot Bay to a natural channel lined with more mangroves. We didn’t see any wildlife on this part of the trip. The natural channel empties into Whitewater Bay an even bigger body of water that is open directly to the Gulf of Mexico. The captain took the boat in a big loop in Whitewater Bay and returned to the marina the way we came. On the trip back through the canal we stopped to see the same crocodiles we saw on the way out.
I really don’t think I was the right audience for the Back Country Boat Tour. The fact that we didn’t see a lot of wildlife can’t be controlled, but I’ve seen mangroves in other areas with easier access. The wildlife around the marina is better than what I saw on the tour today. I got more entertainment watching the two of the little kids running around the boat. The third one only crawled.
This evening I walked back over to the marina area. I saw a crocodile and all kinds of osprey. It was better wildlife viewing than on the 90 minute tour. Here are some of the pictures I took on my walk to the marina.
I wonder if time of day plays a factor in seeing the wildlife.
Time of day and the tides. The middle of the day is when the corcs are taking the sun on the banks, but it was also high tide so they didn’t have a lot of room. My guess is the birds are out more early and late in the day. Who knows when the manatee are visible.
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