On the Turner River by Pole Boat

Trip Start Dec 31, 2012
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Trip End May 04, 2013


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What I did
Everglades Adventure Tours

Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, February 16, 2013

Today was the most marvelous of days.  As I mentioned before, we were scheduled to do a Pole Boat tour on the Turner River.  And, I whined about the rain... But, as it often turns out, it was all for the good.  We met Warren, our guide, near the gift shop/animal exhibit area.  He's from the Great Lakes area in Ohio.  He worked as a systems person, but loves the water.  He went on to become a Master Naturalist and shared more than I could ever write here with us.  The river that they tour is divided by Highway 41.  Due to the low water, he hasn't been able to get on the northern section for over a month.  The rain yesterday brought the river up about eight inches, which opened the area to us.  He was more than thrilled to get there.


The river is surrounded by growth, from Cyprus trees to Willows to Pond Apple trees to Palms and Fig Vines, which take the life out of whatever they climb.  You know what I mean, I just can't remember.  Help me out here, please.  We have these vines here in the campground too and I'll try to get a shot of what they do.


We spent over two hours in the boat, a type of flat-bottomed canoe with a squared-off stern end.  It was stable and just comfortable enough.  Warren poled the craft with a cypress pole which had an end much like an oar.  It was about twelve feet long.  He's quite adept at maneuvering the boat through the water.  The surface of Florida is such:  it slopes about two inches per foot from the northern end to the Keys.  Thus, the water is quite slow moving.  If you watched a leaf or such, you could see the slow movement.


The area was filled with wading birds.  They included Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Night Heron, Great White Egrets, Common Coots, Red-Headed Moor Hens and more.  We saw many Ahinga, a few Osprey and others that cannot be remembered at this time.  Oh, there was also a Red-Shouldered Hawk that I was fortunate enough to photograph at a distance.  


The trees are covered with air plants, that do not live from the tree, but from the air itself.  The Cardinal is one of the species we saw.  The spring season is  about a month early, so some of the species of trees are already in bloom.


Oh, and the alligators...  I'll bet we saw at least fifty of them, large and small.  We saw females with babies.  We saw a large gator groaning as part of the mating ritual.  What a sound!  Nothing like a Bull Elk in Montana, for sure.  One "stack" of about five baby alligators was very cool to see.  I have several pictures which I'd hope you check our on Flickr.


We were mostly impressed by the quiet and solitude of the place.  Just being in the space of the fauna was a treat, liking visiting someone's home in a foreign land.  The alligators were peaceful and at no time did we feel any danger.  The see a lot of people there and are more than tolerant.  


This two hour is a must-see if you are ever in the area.  Quiet and peaceful are the outstanding attributes.  The two hours flew by.


We passed under Highway 41 and continued on the Southern side.  They are constructing a  bike path from Naples to Miami now, so the yellow "dams" you see are there in case there is a "spill" during this construction.  We passed under these dams to get to the second phase of the tour.  Hats off, lean down, relax...it's all good.


The southern side is much narrower and there we saw the Red Mangroves, which you will see in the photos.  Here, many species lay their eggs since the trees offer a kind of a cage to protect the young as they grow.  


What a day!  The weather was perfect and the guide a real gem.  


We headed to Everglade City after lunch where we visited a market that Warren had recommended for Stone Crabs.  We got a pound, along with a wooden mallet and "pickers" for the meat.  It's served cold with lemon and butter on the side.  I will report later.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing more of our journey with us.


Later...stone crab is delicious.  It's better than lobster, according to the lobster.
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Comments

photodon
photodon on

What an exciting adventure. Glad you are sharing this with us. Some nice pictures, too. Gosh! Real live alligators. And stone crabs, too, no less. And yes, rain is good, Ralphie. Thanks for the cloud shot.

Cherie bina moe on

We had a blue bird day of skiing at Georgetown lake today...glad your tour was awesome!

Dennis on

Sounds like a really unique and interesting experience.

Sus on

Now that sounds like fun, what a great adventure! I would love to do that boat tour.....as long as the crocks minded their own business! I am going to have to visit flicker....you may have to remind me how to get to your pics.

ferdie on

What a day you had! Sounds beautiful all around! Love that crab/lobster reference! Better than "lobster"? WOW!

Mary C. on

Thanks for putting the link to Flicker in your email, Ralph...'made it quite convenient to look at all your beautiful pix...What a paradise down there. Now I see why you look forward to leaving us up here in the slush.

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