It is never a good thing to fall out of a boat, but falling out of an Air Boat in the Florida Everglades off Alligator Alley is a most undesirable experience. Thankfully, I have no first-hand knowledge of such an experience.
Being on, or in, the water is one of my favorite pastimes so a chance to float across the Florida Everglades in an Air Boat was high on my “to do” list. We needed to get from Naples to the Keys so Alligator Alley was our quickest route. If you haven’t made this drive before, Alligator Alley is literally a straight line cutting across the state of Florida dumping you out slightly above the start of the Keys, our destination.
We rolled up for our Air Boat ride just before dusk. It was to be the last ride of the day. The weather was a bit cool and our captain (a young kid turning 20 the next day) quickly downed a drink of something he swore to me wasn’t beer. I believed him as I quickly learned of his deep love and respect for this part of the country. He grew up exploring the intricacies of the Everglades and learning how fragile this ecosystem is.
We continued our tour and I was secretly hoping to spot one of the enormous pythons the news always sensationalizes (well, maybe not so “secretly hoping” as I kept asking our guide about them), but we didn’t see one — although he said a huge one had been spotted earlier that day, so close!
(Spaceman calling alligator, come in alligator…)
The engines were deafening (they provide ear plugs), but the panorama was beautiful. Being the last boat out there, the isolation and enormity of these wetlands was impressive. Hairpin turns sprayed water that patted my face, and I was loving it.
Sad to have it end, we climbed back into our car and continued down the two-lane road toward the Keys. I would say our tail lights faded over the rise — but there are no rises in Florida. This is one flat state!