Dozens of places in the areas surrounding Everglades National Park offer Airboat experiences. But we have resisted the temptation every time we've visited the Park until last week.
And we enjoyed the ride!
I chose the picture above because the hammock (that's what they say here in Florida -- we would have said hummock) gives some perspective to the picture... but there are other hammocks that look just the same -- and there are huge areas that are nothing but sky and grass. It would be SO easy to get lost.
Many of the people on the boat were most excited for the chance to see alligators in the wild. But we've seen hundreds and hundreds of them -- quite a few earlier on this trip in fact (and don't worry, I'll be showing them later). The best part for us was being somewhere out in the middle of all that grass with no land in sight (everything looks the same) -- and realizing that the Everglades really and truly IS a Sea of Grass.
Besides that it was just plain fun.
Airboats are used for more than tourism -- ecologists go out in them to get rid of invasive plants and they were even used to rescue people during Hurricane Katrina.
I forgot to take a picture of our boat -- the one on the left is from Coopertown Tours which was the Company we used.
Our boat was longer than this one .... I did turn around to take a picture of the pilot up on his high seat (below).
Here is a brief explanation of an airboat (taken from Wikipedia) and you can go to this link to read more.
An airboat is a flat-bottomed vessel propelled forward by an aircraft-type propeller and powered either by an aircraft or automotive engine. They are used for fishing, hunting and ecotourism in marshy or shallow areas where a standard engine with a submerged propeller would be impractical. The engine and propeller are enclosed in a protective metal cage that prevents objects, wildlife (and passengers) from coming in contact with the whirling propeller. Stopping and reversing direction are dependent on good operator skills.
Our driver (pilot/captain) is stopped in the middle of the sea of grass to answer passenger questions. The other pictures were taken over the edge of the boat during calmer times on the ride.
Thank you to Lady Fi, Sylvia, Sandy, Arija, Gattina, and Jenn for OW and to Judith for MM.