On Tuesday, when we arrived at Midway Campground in Big Cypress National Preserve, it was too rainy to go exploring. Our camp host told us there were alligators in the pond just outside of our door, but with the gloom they didn't show themselves.
Wednesday was also a stay-inside day. Watching the Weather Channel, we were reminded that we were lucky we were not in New York.
The weather Thursday was glorious. Mid-seventies, with a sunny sky and a mild breeze. Our first stop was at the Oasis Visitor Center for park information. I asked the Ranger on duty if we would see any alligators. She smiled and replied "definitely".
When we walked out the door and headed for the Jeep we noticed several people standing along the channel in front of the Visitor Center. These are what they were looking at:
These were just a few of the alligators that were displaying themselves for the tourists. (Actually, they were there for the sun.) They were all quite large. One lady said there used to be many more there.
Our next stop was at the Monroe game check station where we got a Verizon signal strong enough for good internet connection. The signal was very weak at the campground, but we were able to check our email here every day.
Then, it was on to the Thousand Islands area of the Everglades National Park, where we took a boat ride out among the islands.
Part way out, a pod of wild dolphins came near the boat. The captain slowed the boat and we watched as the dolphins swam back and forth under us. The ranger took the opportunity to tell us all about them. He explained that they had very good eyesight and could see us quite clearly, and were playing "make the tourists run from side to side of the boat". Then they rewarded us with a little jumping display.
This gal (the ranger said they were all females) made a pretty high jump. After a few more jumps they swam off, and we continued out toward the Gulf.
There was a large congregation of birds on a sand bar. They big white ones are giant white pelicans. They have a wing span of up to nine feet, and were described as the "real snow birds", since they show up here and do nothing more than sit on the warm beach and go fishing every day all winter.
|Two heads are better than one|
Speaking of odd birds, these two were seen just enjoying the day.