Monday, February 13, 2017

The Keys

Today we made it to the southernmost point of the contiguous U.S., the Florida Keys!
at the first beach we went to, this lizard was running across the road. Kik caught this photo of him on just one leg.
At this particular beach, the state park rangers said they have never seen a crocodile, but after the Disney incident last year, they put these signs up anywhere they have water.
Funny sign for a designated swimming area!

Beyond the snorkeling area rope was a coral reef.
Jo was first to get all the way in. The weather was 75° and the water was slightly warmer than that, but there was a breeze that made it feel quite cool. 

There's something living in this shell!

Biscayne National Park

What do you hear in there?

Having fun in the visitor center.

Tossing coconuts back in the water.
We walked on this really cool peninsula out into the middle of the sound.

Heading back to the visitor center, we heard really loud fighter jets taking off from the military base next door.
Silas fell in the water right before they went to turn in their junior ranger books, so he's a little wet and lacking shoes in the photo. (: just another day in the life...

The Everglades

Kik gives Ky some fishing tips by our campsite. This was about 10am. 
What you don't see, is our 5 AM wake up to the low-battery alarm in the trailer. When Scott went out to check on it, there was super thick fog and our phone said 100% humidity! This is camping in a swamp.
Shark Valley was a fun place to visit because you could tour the park by tram ride or bike.
Our new bikes came in super handy when there was no parking available in the park. We were able to park just outside and ride in and enjoy the trail. 
We saw so many baby alligators.
Everyone would hop off their bike and be excited about looking at the babies. And every time I would ask, "Where's the mama?"

So thankful to be able to see so many of God's creatures that are unique to this area. 
It was about 81° (and super humid) and though we were drinking lots, we were happy to get back to the trailer where we had ice cream in the freezer! Yummy treat after a hot ride. 
When we arrived at Gator Park (!!!), our campsite for the next couple nights, we found that our neighbors had 3 fun birds.   The two macaws are from Panama and the cockatoo was from Australia. This couple travels with the birds in their motorhome as the man is on tour playing guitar and singing. They are headed to the Keys tomorrow for some shows and gave us lots of tips for our time down there. They were fun to chat with as they have just become RV full timers; they were formerly full timers on a boat. They offered to project a movie on the side of their motorhome for everyone to watch in the evening, but there was a change of plans once the mosquitoes came out!

Friday, February 10, 2017


Near our friends home, there is a place to see manatees.
Each winter, the ugly beasts come to the warm waters created by this coal-fire electric plant. 

This gal told us all about manatee biology  and preservation. 
There was also a small indoor museum. Half was about manatees. Half was about clean energy. 

We even got to have a lesson in plumbing as our picnic tables were below the restrooms. (:
Petting sting rays was fun. 
Searching for birds and spotting many other forms of wildlife, including quite a variety of fish, we enjoyed the trail out onto the dock. 

Next, we hiked another trail out to a 50' observation tower (seen below in the background) from which we could see kayak trails through mangrove forests. Using the word "trails" to refer to waterways has been a new thing, here in Florida. 

Such amazing sights in this subtropical world.