Fleeton Year of Adventure travel blog

Everglades warning signs - we saw the signs lots, but no panthers

Florida tree snails

Airplants growing throughout many of the forested areas

A gumbo-limbo tree (red bark, and no, I'm not kidding about the...

A strangler fig, which climbs around, and strangles, it's host tree.

Giant mahogany tree, complete with vines and air plants

The edge of a mangrove swamp - roots going down, and their...

Our first tour boat

The old restaurant part of the visitor centre at Flamingo, which had...

A mangrove island out in the ocean, formed on a sandbar at...

Driving back through the park from Flamingo

Warning sign at our campground at Midway - would YOU go swimming?

For anyone who got a postcard postmarked Ochopee, this is the post...

The best photo I got of our dolphins - the highlight of...

On the 28th we drove through some interesting agricultural areas (lots of field workers out picking what looked like little squashes, pick-your-own strawberry patches (in December!), fresh corn and tropical fruits on sale on roadside stands, and MANY nurseries raising different palm trees for sale. The things the nurseries were selling - too bad none would grow at home anyway. There were little vendors on the side of the road selling orchid plants in full bloom, with signs saying from $6 on up - and I couldn't have any! We headed into Everglades National Park and down to the southernmost point at a place called Flamingo (which hasn't seen a real flamingo for decades, by the way). However, they had multitudes of great walking trails populated by many wonderful birds, and yes, lots of alligators. The gators were all out sunning themselves on the water banks, and totally ignoring people (Malcolm did laugh at one dad picking up his toddler when they got to that part of the path!) The park had so many wonderful things to see, and all different types of biozones - mangrove swamps, ocean shores, hardwood forests, tall pines, and bald cedar forests (bald cedars lose their needles in the dry season, which is now) and grow them back in the wet season. We saw lots of butterflies and a myriad of wild flowers. Fortunately we didn't see any snakes, which is good. We camped in the nice big dry-camping campground at Flamingo for two nights, and the third night was spent at a fancier government campground at Midway, half-way along the highway across the Everglades. We went on two little boat tours into the ocean to try to see manatees. dolphins, birds, and other wildlife. The first trip we saw lots of birdlife and found a big crocodile in the harbour when we returned. The second trip, on the 30th, was out of Everglades City farther east, and we headed out of the bay almost into the Gulf of Mexico. We did find manatees, but all we saw were splashes and maybe a tiny glimpse of brown as one surfaced to breathe. We did find a pod of dolphins though, who came and played behind the boat for a bit, so that was fun. Driving across the highway going over to Everglades City was lots of fun in itself. Malcolm drove, and I just watched the canal beside the road. We saw turtles (I saw one about a foot across), fish jumping, lots of fantastic birds, and everywhere there was a bank to climb on, we saw alligators of all sizes. I have so many photos to share - I'll make separate entries for them so that if you don't like birds, you don't have to look! Boy, the Everglades definitely ranks up there as a highlight for our travels so far.

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