If you’ve been here, you would have gone to the “only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side because of the mix of salt and fresh water on it.” (www.dep.state.fl.us) Originally, this swampy place extended to over 11,000 square miles; unfortunately, it has been reduced to barely 4,000 sq. miles due to agricultural and residential development since 1905 when first approved by then Governor Broward. This so-called “development” is a misnomer because it was the beginning of the destruction of the ecosystem of Florida. Dubbed as the “River of Grass,” it is approximately 60 miles in width but it is so shallow that in some places, it is only 6 inches in deep. Human greed had reduced the bird population during the early 20th century when plume was valued as much as gold. Despite the damage of over 50 years, the Everglades is still regarded as a natural treasure as extraordinary as the Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes or the Redwood Forests.
Last week, my wife and I took an airboat ride from Everglades City, about 35 minutes from Naples, Fl where we had our vacation. It was an extraordinary tour and I am sharing a photo of it. I can’t upload a video, my apologies. Being about 2 feet away from an alligator in the latter’s natural environment was one of the scariest moments of my life. I am sharing a photo of said alligator who was eyeing me constantly as I was trying to focus my camera on him. The 45-minutes tour costs the two of us $78 US dollars. The highlight of the tour for me was the close encounter with the gator.