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Monday, November 17, 2014

A visit to the swamp

If you ever see a picture of Florida from space, you'll see that most of South Florida is very watery, thanks to the amazing Everglades. And although I grew up here, I didn't really go there much (if ever). No, it was there, but I always had other things to do, and it was a longer drive and blah blah blah. Always some excuse. However, it's really an amazing place to visit.

After I moved back in 2009, we had some friends visit us from overseas and one of the places we went was to the Everglades. There are a number of Indian villages and various attractions where you can go on an airboat ride through the Everglades. That July, we visited Billy Swamp Safari. We decided to first go on the airboat ride…
It's basically a floating platform with a large fan that propels the boat through the water. It's loud! And it's fun.

On the way out, we passed the chickee huts. These are original Seminole style chickee huts and, if you want, you can stay overnight in them.

Here, we have the somewhat open waterway. See all the plants in the water? That's why you need an airboat- to basically float right over those without tearing anything up or risk getting a motor tangled with anything.

Along the banks, we some some wild pigs. The Seminoles have them on their land, along with some other creatures (we saw ostrich and water buffalo too!) Here we have what looks like either a pregnant sow and some semi-little ones. Our guide joked that they called the really little ones Bacon Bits.  

Then, of course, you have the ever present American Alligator. This guy had been across the river, but when he saw us, he decided to come and investigate. And he kept getting closer and closer. 
And here he is, right close to the shore, where all the little piggies are!

All of a sudden, our guide starts throwing dog food into the water! And all the pigs started coming into the water to feed. 
WHAT? WAIT! 
WHOA!! There's an alligator here, dude?? What are you doing?? I do not want to see some pig get massacred. NO NO NO!!! I think all of us on board were screaming at him. And then…
This happened….


The alligators completely ignored the pigs and started eating the food the guide had thrown into the water. Here they were, right next to each other, predator and potential prey, all eating this dog food that had been thrown into the water, and completely ignoring each other.

And finally, here is one of the pigs, laughing at us.


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