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Florida

Day 6 - 25th May 2012

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Everglades National Park 

Tod, kayaking, crabs, mozzies & Captain Rodney

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We had arranged a day with a local guide to kayak through the Everglades and then go for a hike.

We met our guide Tod and drove to a suitable pool to launch our
kayaks - Miche & I shared one (as that had worked so well in Alaska?)...






Heronry with juvenile herons...






Approaching a large Alligator, as we got really close he very slowly sank backwards into the water, after we passed he slowly rose up again...




Miche having donned her mosquito headnet practicing her steering as we enter the tight mangrove channels...




Tod and half of lunch...




Blue Crab up close...




In one of the channels - the mosquitoes were absolutely savage, despite spray and head-to-toe clothing we were both bitten in various places - mine congregated where the zips in my zip off trousers met, but also they had bitten along the zipline and where and clothing was pulled tight against the skin.

You didn't hear the familiar high pitched whine, they just went straight for you.




Back in open water where the mozzies were far less prevalent...




We took our crabs to Joanie's Blue Crab Cafe, where the chef prepared them.

The once blue crab, now distinctly red and adorned with basil




Giving it all that...




The cafe backs onto Big Cypress National Reserve. Not ones to miss out on a reliable food source, an alligator had taken up residence at the back of the cafe on the look out for leftovers or over-curious tourists...




We saw lots of these large Lubber Grasshoppers, apparently they taste very bitter, so nothing eats them...




Alligators outside Clyde Butcher's gallery...







Our guide suggested we cancelled our afternoon hike as the heat was so intense and the mozzies so rampant, but recommended a friend of his for a cooler alternative...

We took a backcountry late afternoon / sunset boat trip
 with Captain Rodney from his house on Chokoloskee Island; Rodney is a fifth generation native Indian who knows this part of the 10,000 islands like the back of his hand.

Osprey nest...





Many of the islands are made up of nothing but seashells that the native Indians piled up to form man-made land...




Captain Rodney loves fishing, so although it wasn't really a fishing trip he'd encourage us to toss out a shrimp at good spots that he knows - we never had to wait too long.

Me with a Redfish (Red Drum), I also had a Mangrove Snapper and two Catfish (we put them all back)...




Miche and her Snook...




Typical multi-island panorama...




I'd never seen so many Roseate Spoonbills together on one place before...




Spoonbills and Ibis on a sandbar...




Osprey nest with four or five larger woodpecker nest holes beneath it...




The light was going, so this picture didn't come out too well, but it's a huge nesting colony of egrets. I did see the fins of a shark patrolling underneath this one...




As storms raged all around us, but thankfully never directly over us, the sun set into various shades of orange...





Heading back to shore after a great trip...





Next stop - day 7 - Fossil Hunting

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Day 1 - Travel Day 2 - Everglades NP Day 3 - Florida Keys 
Day 4 - Biscayne NP Day 5 - Shark Valley Day 6 - Kayak & Boat
Day 7 - Fossil Hunting Day 8 - Manatees part 1 Day 9 - Manatees part 2
Day 10 - Memphis Day 11 - Memphis to Gatlinburg Day 12 - Dollywood
Day 13 - Cades Cove Day 14 - Mount LeConte Day 15 - Gatlinburg to DC
Day 16 - Washington Day 17 - Smithsonian