Trip Start Oct 03, 2005
Trip End Oct 03, 2006

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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, January 1, 2006

Due to Hurricanes, the place that we were to stay in inside the park did not exist in any habitable form. So instead we stayed at a place called Homestead just outside the park, truly a fine American City.
The Park itself consists of lots and lots of grassland (sitting in water in the wet season) and clumps of different types of vegetation on higher ground. Higher ground might mean a foot or two (sorry 30cm-60cm). The Park also runs along the edge of the Bay where there are mangrove forests. In January the Everglades are starting to dry out and the wildlife is beginning to concentrate around the remaining water.
Of course, the first thing to do was to find some gators. As so often happens the first sighting was at a distance and unremarkable, it could have almost been a floating log all the way across the pond at the Visitor's Centre. But it wasn't. And even though you could hardly see the gator, it was bloody exciting. As is so often the case though, it was not that exciting in hindsight. Especially after you've seen your 342nd gator and been close enough to pull their little tails (strangely enough something that no-one actually did).
The best bits were where there was water. There were heaps of gators, waterbirds and fish. We also saw turtles, other birds, snails (well Kate was excited anyway), a few American crocodiles (from a great distance) and hardly any mosquitoes.
We also spent the best part of a day at a State Park on the Ocean side close to Homestead. All but Dad went out on a 3hr boat trip to see the reef. We saw a big fat manatee after about 10min. Unfortunately that was the highlight.
And we went on an airboat ride. It was noisy, fast and wet. In short: lots of fun.
Some of us, well mostly me, watched the most anticipated college football game of all time, or something like that anyway. It was one of the first sporting events that actually lived up to the hype.
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