Florida Everglades

During our vacation to Florida in August 2015 we took a side trip to visit the Florida Everglades. Although our intent was to take a tram tour; we continued to notice airboat rides through the swamp. So we stopped at Tigertail’s Airboat Tour which is located on the Miccosukee Indian Reservation on Highway 41 about 30 miles west of the Interstate and Miami. It is operated by the Indian, Tigertail, and visits his ancestral home in the Everglades.

This tour is located on the Miccosukee reservation, 16 miles west of the Miccosukee Gaming on Tamiami Trail or approximately 1 mile east  of Shark Valley Visitors Center. It begins in a little outpost by the side of the road.

The guides take visitors on airboats through the Everglade swamp pointing out wild life, terrain, conservation efforts and it stops at Tigertail family island, previously where they lived and hunted.

In August, the water level was extremely low. It is doubtful if the tour can be continued over this route through the Everglades until the water increases. Noisy but fun, the airboat skimmed over the water and mud. The guide made sure that we saw an alligator — he scurried to get out of our way.

Then we came Tigertail’s island — which took years for nature to deposit plants and soil so that the swamp became an island. It evolved from the floating swamp areas that we occasionally saw.

The guides and Tigertail maintain some of the wildlife to show tour visitors. Here’s an alligator with clubbed feet which could not survive in the wild.

Then we took our turn at holding a smaller alligator – about 3 years old.

And here is Eric with the alligator. You can see the Island in the background. During higher water, several large alligators are maintained in this area.

And Marc held the alligator, too. (I passed.)

The guides keep several other animals. Here’s a wild hog.

And several types of turtles; some quite large. These couldn’t be picked up–they snap and bite. The guide impressed us by telling stories of friends that had lost fingers due to snapping turtles. Here’s a small turtle–Marc took a chance.

An orange tree.

And the view as we left Tigertail’s Island.

On our way out we noticed an flower – water lilly – in the water. Some beautiful things do live in the swamp!

And some birds on our way back out of the Everglades. The Everglades seemed like an endless body of swamp and water, and indeed, it covers much of southern Florida.

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