I had another wonderful day here in Florida. Sandy took me downto the Everglades. We drove south and west from Boca Raton until we reached our destination. Within the Everglades there are two American Indian reservations. We were aiming for the Miccosukee reservation. Sandy knew well one of the air boat operators and his family, who have run the business for many decades. She is also keen to support the indigenous businesses rather just one of the many other air boat companies.
We arrived and checked in for an air boat trip. Here I met my first alligator.
Fortunately this one was made of fibre glass.
After a short wait our boat arrived back from it’s previous trip.
We were loaded on board and off we went deep into the Everglades. Our driver, a grandson of the founder of the firm, knew his way around like the back of his hand. We buzzed along through the sawgrass and watched in wonder as the scenery shot past. The glades are sometimes called the river of grass because of this plant which is everywhere.
The driver had an experienced eye in watching out for alligators. When he saw one he pulled up so that we could watch and take pictures.
Sandy has been to the Everglades many time having worked in Florida for 30 years, but we found something today which she has never seen. An alligator had caught a large fish and was basking and eating it. She was very excited. I, of course, just assumed this was normal until she told me otherwise.
Then we were off again to our final stop. The tribe who have the reservation tend to live in modern accommodation these days, but they have recreated, in the heart of the Everglades, what would have been a typical small village in years gone by. Our guide told us about the layout, which included a central communal shelter where fellowship and religious activities would take place, and a number of smaller shelters where people would live eat and sleep.
We all piled back onto the air boat and headed off again. Parts of the swamp are dense with grass and other parts are quite open.
It was a truly amazing experience. The swamp is teeming with fish and birds, despite the fascination of the tour groups and guides with the alligators.
Next Sandy took me to the Sark Valley Visitor Center. No, that is not a spelling error, despite my spell check getting in a froth. I am in the US. It is a wonderful interpretative centre for the Everglades experience.
Finally we went and had lunch at a Miccosuku restaurant and ate a traditional delicacy, Indian Burger. It is minced beef fried in a coating of a type of bread dough. It looks appetising and when you bite into it you immediately discover that is very good at retaining its heat for a long time. Good job I am typing this rather than trying to speak.
Altogether this was a most amazing day – Thanks Sandy!