March 1, 2016
One can’t visit Florida without seeing some real alligators!! So off we went to Alligator Cove in Lake Wales for an airboat ride. It was awesome!!
Although my best pictures are below, as usual, they just don’t do justice to the airboat ride. So I am attaching a short video that Tom made – it is breathtaking. It may take a while to load, but will be worth it.
One of the owners of Alligator Cove, and an air boat.
I’ve never been on an airboat. They have a big motor and propeller in back.
Two of the other passengers wearing their life vests and waiting for the tour to start … or … um … do you notice something strange about the empty chair next to the man in the middle?
Captain Flame stood by while we boarded the boat. He got his name because, he says, back when he had hair it was very red. On the seats are earmuffs. These boats are LOUD.
Spanish moss festoons the trees all over Florida. Captain Flame said it is a true moss, not a fungus, and that its name came from its resemblance to the beards of old Spanish men.
The moss appears gray and dead, but Captain Flame said if you squish it, you will see the green. I have not squished Spanish moss (yet) … have you?
These are Cyprus trees. Over thousands of years, as their environment became swampy, they adapted by developing “Cyprus knees” — they look like posts stuck up everywhere. The knees are part of the tree’s root system and that is how the tree breathes.
More views from the boat.
We were not limited to sailing on water …. some of that “water” looked pretty solid, grassy, leafy, etc. … but Captain Flame explained that with that big motor, we could sail right down Main Street if we chose.
The first wildlife we saw was a bald eagle in a tree.
We saw lots of birds – one caught some dinner, and I caught him with my camera.
We were excited to catch a glimpse of these large animals across the lake and were told that no, they are not wildlife, exactly. They are cows. Apparently, Ponce de Leon brought cows to this area in the mid-1500’s and Florida was the home of the first cowboys.
There’s an alligator below ….. he’s hard to see … look right in the middle of the picture.
We’re zooming in now …
Here’s just his head … see the eyeball in the middle?
They are really good at hiding, and they often look just like a piece of old tire, so some of my pictures just look like …. old tires. But I think you can see the alligator-ness of these below.
This one is diving back in the water with a splash as we approach
Another big one caught in the middle of diving to escape our view.