We woke up early morning to rush to the Everglades National Park. Destination : Flamingo. This small town is about 60 miles from the park entrance and the most southern point of the Glades, teeming with salt water crocodiles and alligators. We came to the tourist office at the entrance and took a map, asking the rangers for directions. We drove further down to Long Pine Key Trail, spotting animals and wildlife. We learned from the map’s information: it is the wet season from January to September, so time for the wild life to feed and reproduce. The dry season is from October until December and this was when the animals where looking for shelter, hidding and waiting for the wet season. We noticed many colourful grasshoppers – getting eaten by birds and fish!
After getting back to the car, we stopped at different points to finally reach Flamingo Point where we wanted to get the last 17:30 boat tour to visit the White Water Bay and to see the famous saltwater crocodiles. There were countless mosquitos, all so resistant to the insecticide ! I was covered with anti-mosquito oil and they literally ate me alive !! After waiting some time, we climbed on board our boat, we followed the canal and our guide told us so many interesting things about the Everglades’ wild life and vegetation. For example, we learned about a certain tree that produces acid because its roots can absorb salty water. The salt is transformed into an acid that makes its fruit toxic and when it rains, the water drops would release the acid from the leaves.
In the past, the Native Americans would use the poison for hunting and they would tie their enemies to this tree, waiting for the rain to drop so that the victim would dissolve! Atrocious! We saw a mother saltwater crocodile looking after her children. She was impressive : a 4 meter long reptile, dinosaur-like and apparently, not the biggest one! We went further along the road to the Bay and I couldn’t help thinking of Jurassic Park with all this luxuriant nature and open space! We saw some fat and peaceful manatees floating in the water before coming back to the port. What an interesting place! We drove all the way back to the national park entrance and soon reached our couchsurfing host’s place in Homestead. They were a very nice Latin-American pensioner couple!