Thursday, April 7, 2011
Kayaking in the Everglades - Mar 24 and 25, 2011
I apologize for the delay in getting this posted. I have been having (and continue to have) issues with getting my pictures uploaded to this post for some reason. I have had these pictures on here for about a week, but haven't posted it yet because I still had some pictures to add. I will just post what I have and try to get the other kayaking pictures into another post. We arrived in Everglade City, Florida in the late afternoon on Mar. 24 to find that our cabin had been rented to another person. Apparently there was some sort of glitch in the computer system that booked our cabin rental for January 24, 2011 instead of March 24, 2011. We didn't have time to stay and sort out the details before it was time to head out on our evening kayak tour through the mangrove tunnels, so we headed over to our meeting place for our evening kayak tour. (Those are the pictures I am having troubles getting uploaded.) After our evening kayak tour, we went back to get the details of our cabin straightened out, and luckily there was another guy who had an open cabin that we were able to stay in that night. Gage checking out the back bedroom of the cabin we stayed in. It was a nice little place. This room contained 2 twin beds which Scott and I slept on and the kids stayed in the front of the cabin on a futon and bench that was just the size to fit the futon mattresses on to make into a bed.
We stopped at this little store to find some breakfast before heading out onto our early morning kayak tour the following day.
As we were waiting for our guide to arrive, we had some time to drive around the little town and check some things out.
This building is the Smallwood Store that is described in the plaque above. (I am also unable to reorganize pictures for some reason! UGH!) The store, as well as many of the houses in this area, are built on stilts to prevent them from flooding during hurricanes.
This dugout canoe was located underneath the store. I'm not sure if it is just displayed for looking at, or if they still use it today.
Scott at JT's Island Grill and Gallery as we wait for our kayak guide to arrive for our morning tour.
Emma found a new friend during our wait! There were 3-4 different cats running around but this one was the friendliest. Inside the store they had little quarter machines that you would normally get gumballs or candy out of. Here, you get cat food. The quarters are used to help with the ferral cat population by finding them veterinary care and homes to be placed in. What a good idea!
Our guide has arrived! Before we left for our morning tour, he and Emma went around and fed all of the cats. That was right up her alley.
Not sure what kind of flowers these are, but just thought they were pretty and would make a nice picture.
We saw lots of different palm trees and were excited to find a coconut tree. We aren't sure of the difference between the coconut tree and the other palm trees we saw. I guess I should look that up!
This is an island made up of all different kinds of shells. We were able to get out of our kayaks and explore and search for some unique shells.
We get a little history about the island and information about some of the different shells we might find.
Emma found a huge cluster of oysters! She had to be very careful because they are sharp and she could have gotten cut.
This is an oyster bed under the water. Many of the shells are empty in this picture, but there were several huge clusters that looked like the one Emma was holding in the previous picture.
At first Gage was afraid to hold him, but after Mom let him crawl around on her hand and arm, he decided it must be okay. It felt weird when he walked on your skin, but he was a pretty cool little crab.
Between the two sets of trees, you can see an oyster bed in the water. It is low tide right now so they aren't completely submerged at this time.
We kayaked several miles out in the bay around the Ten Thousand Islands area. We were near Chokoloskee Island. The area is a mix of fresh water and salt water and we were on the lookout for Manatees. It was a great place to be to find them, but they were all hiding somewhere else on this particular day, which totally bummed Gage out.
After our kayak tour ended around lunch time, we headed to Big Cypress National Preserve where the kids became Junior Rangers by taking an oath and doing several different activities.
We were the only people being guided on this early morning kayak tour so we were able to do just about anything we wanted to do. We were on a quest to find manatees, but unfortunately the weather was warm enough that particular morning that we weren't able to find any in the wild.