Monday, December 3, 2012

A Day in the Glades

Staying in the same place two nights in a row is a bit of a luxury for road trippers. It was nice to wake up and not have to jump out of bed to repack the bags and the car and we even got a load of washing done before heading off for further exploration of the Everglades.

Our first stop was the Robert is Here fruit stand. The fruit shop has been built on the same spot that a much younger Robert had a fruit stand as a little boy and now it's a thriving family industry complete with some animals to feed and the best milkshakes you will ever taste. I was drawn here by previous trip reports extolling the magnificence of Robert's milkshakes and I wasn't disappointed. Taine had dragon fruit, I had strawberry & key lime and Geoff had papaya. They were all delicious.

Then it was on to the Everglades Alligator Farm for an airboat ride and another look at the local gators. The airboat ride was fun and after years of watching Miami Vice & CSI it was one of those 'must dos' for Australians. We do try not to do any damage to the local environment while we're traveling so was a bit of a conscience struggle. The Everglades is a beautiful and delicate eco system and I'm pretty sure the noisy airboats aren't doing anything to help the balance of nature.

The farm also had the ritual gator feeding session. The pond (about 50 metres across) housed 250 adult alligators, most of whom looked like concrete statues lying on the banks when we got there. In fact, I was ready to bet money that some of them were fake. However, when the bell went for feeding time they were like my Year 9 english class when the lunch bell goes, suddenly becoming very animated (in an alligatorish kind of way!). I wasn't overly impressed with the feeding session or the snake display even though Taine got to be the star of the show pulling snakes out of the bag. Nevertheless, the farm was reasonably priced and I was satisfied that we'd 'done' the Everglades.

From there we entered the Everglades Park itself ($10 per car) and made our way to the Royal Palm Info Centre to walk the Anhinga Trail. Anhinga are birds that live in the glades. The spend a lot of time spread eagled in the trees to dry their wings. The track was a nice way to see the everglade environment  in its wild state. We saw lots of bird life and fish and quite a few gators. It's about 1km long which is plenty. There's only so much waving grass we can manage in one day.

Craving a home style salad we called back in at Robert is Here and bought some salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and an enormous avocado. Combined with a bag of frozen vegies and some fried chicken I think we've staved off the scurvy for another day.

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