The Retirees in the South East USA – the Everglades and Big Cypress Reservation

Our apartment was one of many in a complex of at least 3 towers surrounding pools and other entertainments. However we were not half way round the world to swim in a pool. From our apartment we planned our next assault – a visit to the Everglades with a jet boat tour and alligator show and a visit to the Seminole Reservation and Museum.

Kerry and I had been to the everglades previously and ridden in an open jet boat but I am certain the alleged alligator was of the stuffed variety.

This tour we were about to embark upon was a far superior experience. The drive to the Gator Park itself was an experience viewing the different countryside. the HQ at the Gator Park was different. Log buildings with wide verandahs both set 3 feet off the ground. The first thing I noticed was the long queue of jet boats down on the water. The jet boats are partly enclosed and  carry a lot more people. We saw many live and kicking biting Alligators, along with fish, vultures, eagles, water lilies and water plants, and grasses which keep the water filtered of pollutants. The everglades is actually a very slow flowing river which the Army Corps of engineers were instructed to drain so they dug deeper channels through the everglades but fortunately the decision was reversed and these channels have made the everglades more accessible. Despite the prolific numbers of alligators swimming through the everglades some brave souls thought nothing of doing a spot of fishing.

One of the black birds inhabiting the everglades is a “grackel”. I will talk about this later. After the tour of the everglades finished we decided to visit the Gator show which was most enjoyable with a “Steve Irwin” type presenting, pushing, pulling, kissing and demonstrating the Seminole method to tie an alligator. After watching the show we spoke with Paul who said he had visited the Northern Territory doing crocodile capturing so he was familiar with both critters and that he found the Australian crocodile more aggressive. So, we then went and nursed a baby alligator for a photo.

Time for some lunch. The menu is not so flash at the Gator Park but then you are in the everglades and there are dangers. David ordered gator bites (pieces of alligator deep fried) and fries and immediately on collecting the food he was swooped from all sides by hungry grackels. Sensibly I did not order any fries.