Day 102, Year 8: Day in the Everglades
Date: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Weather: Sunny, Windy, and Warm
Location: Home of Mary Ellen and Lee French, Bonita Springs, Florida

Today we toured the Everglades with Mary Ellen and Lee. We drove to Ochopee, just north of Everglades City, and chose Wooten’s Airboat Tours, Swamp Buggy Tours, and Animal Sanctuary as our tour destination. We did a quick search on the web this morning and found that there were many choices. Most were much more expensive than Wooten’s and some got better reviews, so we decided to drive south and choose a venue when we got there. We stopped at Wooten’s and found that we could do the airboat ride and the swamp buggy ride and see the animal sanctuary for $10 less than just doing an airboat ride at one of the other places, so Wooten’s was our choice. The animal sanctuary turned out to be a lot of fun. A young man named Gator John was feeding the alligators in an enclosed pond.He was full of personality and watching the feeding was “interesting” to say the least. There were so many large alligators but Gator John seemed to know what he was doing.After the feeding, we got to hold a baby alligator. Gator John banded the baby alligator’s snout so there was no fear of being bitten, but then he chose one person to hold Fred. Fred is about three years old and has been held by so many people that he doesn’t need his snout banded.We then went on the airboat ride with Matt as our tour guide. The airboats are very loud, but you wear headphones and that takes care of the loudness. It was a fun ride even though we only saw one alligator. We had seen so many in the pond that seeing more was just not a must. After the airboat ride, we went on a swamp buggy. This is a vehicle with BIG wheels that hold you high above the swamp grass. The swamp buggy guide was a woman who has lived in the Everglades all of her life and she had information on every plant we saw.We wished we had brought a tape recorder to record the many uses of the various plants.Unfortunately, none of us even had a piece of paper and a pencil to write things down.Maybe between the four of us we can remember a few of the things.

When we returned home, Mark and I went for a long walk and then swam in ME and Lee’s pool. The weather today was in the 80’s but as we learned from the guides at Wooten’s today, even the alligators know that a big change in the weather is coming. The strong winds today were blowing in a system that is going to cool things down considerably. And we have a 60 per cent chance of rain in the next couple of days. Mark and I plan to go to the beach in the morning for a long walk and then we’ll hunker down and continue work on the family history project as the temperature drops and the rain comes—if it does. In any case, we’ll continue to enjoy our time here.

130213 Day 102 Florida Visit 2013, USA–Trip to the Everglades