We arrived in Florida four days before the family cruise to visit with KC’s parents (who flew out from California for the family cruise) and to visit one of KC’s college friends, Chris.
Family Beach Times
I have some pretty awesome in-laws. KC and I made a mad dash to Florida (Mad Dash to Florida Part 1 and Part 2) to meet them before the cruise and were exhausted by the time we arrived in Florida. The four of us took it easy the first full day in Ft Lauderdale, KC and I running errands and doing chores left over from long days of travel, and Bev and Andy relaxing. That evening, we went to dinner in downtown Ft Lauderdale and I got to see the Atlantic for the first time on this trip. This was also the first time I put my feet in the Atlantic.
“You’re going to really like the Everglades,” Bev told me. She started telling me the story of the time when she and Andy took KC and Kim to Florida and they rode on the air boat. “They took the turns fast, which was a lot of fun,” she added. On our second day in Ft Lauderdale, drove to the Everglades and I was excited to go, after hearing Bev’s story of riding on the air boats. We drove up to air boat tour parking lot and I opened the car door. Immediately, the hot, sticky humidity hit me and I almost shut the door. After a moment, I got out and we started walking toward the tour building. We had only walked fifty feet, but I was already covered in sweat and looking for shade.
After purchasing the tickets, we crossed the street to the air boat dock, where our guide, the guy in the blue shirt, gave us safety details, most of which was to keep our hands in the boat and to keep all our belongings secured.
Everyone got in the boat and we started down the waterway in the Everglades. Once we started moving, the air movement cooled us off, making the hot and sticky Florida afternoon bearable. Our guide pointed out much of the wildlife we passed, including alligators, birds, and bushes. This watery place was utterly unique to this dried out Californian and my attention was fully captured by all the riparian wildlife and plant life.
After we turned around and starting heading back to the dock, I heard some commotion towards the back of the boat. Curious, I turned around and saw the guide bending over to pick up something between a couple of the passengers. He stood back up and showed us what was in his hand: a baby alligator. “Well, that’s a first,” he said. No one knew how the alligator got on the boat. He slowly stopped the boat and released the alligator back into the water. “I guess he needed a ride,” he added with a laugh.
We returned to the dock and got off the boat. “Did you have a good time?” Bev asked. “Yeah, that was a fun experience, what about you?” I responded. “Yes, but it wasn’t as fun as last time,” Bev said. She told me about how she was disappointed that we could zoom across the water or take fast turns. KC and Andy felt the same way. During the boat ride, the guide had apologized for the slow boat speed. He explained that the National Park Service controls water levels and are keeping them low to help a bird (I forgot which type) breed this year. Unfortunately, low water levels meant slower boat speeds. I had a good time experiencing the Everglades first hand, which I had only previously seen through photographs or on TV.
Our guide told us that we could hold a four year old alligator in the animal sanctuary behind the tour building. Naturally, the four of us were interested.
I also got to wear a snake. Oddly, no one else wanted to hold the snake.
This story continues on Part 2, coming soon! In the meantime, you can check out more pictures on our Family and Friends in Florida Photo Journal Page.
You can check out more information about the Everglades on the NPS website or about Ft Lauderdale’s beaches here.
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