Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Everglades National Park - Florida Bay Boat Tour

Our first tour was the Florida Bay Boat Tour from the Flamingo Marina. $24/person. I must point out this Marina also doubles as a grocery store including ice creams! While waiting we saw a manatee! The Ranger in the Visitor Center said that manatee need fresh water and so think they hang around the boat wash area because of the fresh water. The tide was going out.

Once out in the Bay we saw the endangered Green Sea Turtle and a multitude of birds, including the pink Roseate Spoonbill. We got pretty close to the Wood Stork, an endangered bird (This is one of Isaac's pics).  Very grateful that I brought my binoculars, later we got to see them feeding further out in the Bay. This is very strange to watch as they basically have to bump into their food with their bill to catch it so they sweep their open bills from side to side. On the park map they point out this is called tacto-location.

We were also treated by a fish which literally skips across the water first on its side and then its tail fin. I wish I could remember its name. The guide mentioned something must have been chasing it. There are a lot of predatory animals living in the Florida Bay. Not a good place to swim.

This tour gave us an up close look at the Red Mangrove Trees with their roots all tangled together and into the shallow Florida Bay. The Mangrove seedlings can sometimes float around in the Bay for a year before germinating. Isaac took the photo below of one that is about 40 years old. Some day this will be another little island or "key".

When we got back to the marina we walked over to the brackish water on the far side of the marina building to see what all the commotion was and saw our first crocodile on the shore of the small key across the boat channel. It was huge!  Very intimidating, much more erect as compared to the lounging alligators. This one looked like he was ready to sprint.

This was our last official tour of our Everglades trip. 

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