Sunday, March 11, 2012

Billies Swamp Tour

Though the weather looked "iffy" and the forecast said rain, we decided to take our chances and drive the 50 miles into the Everglades to the Seminole Reservation and do Billies Swamp today. Of course, with the time change, it was later than we had hoped to get started but we made it there by noon.  The Everglades itself was not what I expected. Looked more like a lot of farm land, cows in abundance, and shrub bush.
Immediately after arriving we were herded onto a "Swamp Buggy" for a tour of the grounds and the Oak Canopy. Billies has a zoo-like atmosphere as many of the animals were imported from India, Australia and other sub-tropic environments. The buggy was fun and we did see a large area of the glades and many animals....oddly living in apparent harmony!
"Snake" bird

One of these at every feeder

Odd collection of beasts!

After the buggy tour we walked through some exhibits. Not to much to see but interesting "critters"...

We then boarded an Air boat for the swamp tour. The guide mentioned that on his last run all the gators that had been sitting and sunning on the banks had mysteriously disappeared. Well, duh....the sky had clouded and a few sprinkle were even falling. I wondered then and there if Jeff and I didn't know more about gators than he did! I tested him with an easy question..."When do Alligators lay their eggs?" He did not know. Oh Boy.

Spot the Gators...

It was not a fabulous tour and the guide pretty much sucked but it was fun to get on an Air boat finally and Jeff really enjoyed the sound of the powerful motor! The last thing to do was the "Gator Pond" which featured one really huge male and his girlfriend. We were lucky enough to be there just as the rangers brought around bags of frozen chickens to feed these two. The male took some persuasion to come to dinner but after a few "Gator calls" from the ranger and the threat of his girl getting all of the chicken, he finally came to life and lumbered over for his fill. He was HUGE. His head was easily 4 feet long and two feet wide. Not one I would want to tempt closer...

On the way home we stopped in Clewiston for a meal and discovered they have few dining options. Wendys, KFC, a Cuban diner, a BBQ shack that looked about to fall down and Sonny's BBQ. We picked Sonny's which proved to have really good BBQ and great people watching (seems everyone in Clewiston had just gotten out of church and it was 3 p.m.).
Home for the last (thank goodness) night in South Bay and getting things ready for the move north tomorrow!

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