Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

This is my second attempt at posting about the first full day of our trip. The previous attempt was on the hotel tv screen and seems to have disappeared into the ether.

Our day (Friday) began with watching the sun rise over the Atlantic as a van drove us away from our hotel and towards the Everglades. Once the van was full (14 passengers and the driver) we proceeded South and West into Sawgrass country. We stopped at an Indian airboat place. (You see one on the opening credits of CSI: Miami). That was a bit of a thrill and quite noisy; cottonballs really help.

As we drove West we slowed down frequently to admire the American Alligator. The females travel together, so it's no exaggeration to say that we saw dozens, if not hundreds of them. The birds were also plentiful and varied. For example, there were cormorants, egrets, cranes and ospreys. The turkey vultures having a committee meeting over an alligator carcass had a certain morbid interest. They were trying to figure out how to turn the body over so they could get to the soft under-belly.

A manattee was resting in a canal not far from the coast. And a young mother alligator was watching over her prodigious, striped brood by the roadside.

The climax of the "eco-tour" was a boatride into the national park, Ten Thousand Islands. Dolphins dutifully leapt alongside us a we navigated the mangrove islands right up to the Gulf of Mexico.

By then jet lag had caught up with us and we slept on the ride back across Florida. When dropped off at our hotel we strolled north and had dinner at a restaurant specializing in fish, Coconuts. We had a table with a view over the inland waterway, facing West. A pelican was perched on a pile nearby. He periodically dove into the water for his dinner. As the meal was winding up, with the obligatory Key Lime Pie, the sun set in front of us.

Not bad for a spare day in Fort Lauderdale.

If this post is successful I'll try to update our trip. We're currently in the Atlantic, having just visiting Half Moon Cay. We just caught the trail of the Discovery Space Shuttle taking off from Cape Canaveral. Maybe we'll have pictures when we get to Madeira (a week from tomorrow).

Hasta la vista!

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