Friday, May 20, 2011

Florida Vacation-Day 7-Part 2

Sadly, this is my final installment of my Florida vacation photos.  On our last evening in Florida, we decided to take a sunset kayak tour through the mangroves.  Neither my husband nor I had ever kayaked before, but we were feeling adventurous, which turned out to be a huge mistake.

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (1 of 19)

Everything started off smoothly. Since we had never kayaked before, we decided to get a tandem kayak.
After a few minutes, we got a rhythm and made it through the open water pretty easily. But then we hit the mangrove tunnels.

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (2 of 19)

The tunnels were pretty tights, and in the very first one, we passed an alligator. (Sorry, I didn't get a photo.) But we took it slow, and we finally made it through.

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (3 of 19)

For a few hours, we alternated paddling through open water and tunnels.  It was actually pretty relaxing.  Here is a short video I took on my phone:

To be honest, though, I didn't really paddle all that much. I was actually concentrating on taking photos. (Shocking, huh?) I really liked the reflections in the water.

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (5 of 19)

(Submitting this to Best Shot Friday)

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (4 of 19)

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (6 of 19)

And why did we decide to go kayaking? All so we could see this:

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (8 of 19)

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (10 of 19)

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (11 of 19)

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (15 of 19)

(Submitting to LEM Photo Challenge: Water)
Everglades National Park-Kayaking (18 of 19)

But then it was pitch black, and we still had to paddle back. In order to keep track of each other, each kayak tied a glow-in-the dark stick to the back of their boat, and we all wore head lanterns.

Everglades National Park-Kayaking (19 of 19)

It was very dark and very creepy. This is a short video I filmed on my phone:

Shortly after this was filmed, the incident happened. After we got back into the open water, we stopped paddling to look to our right because we could see an alligator in the distance. Even though it was completely dark out, we could still see it because alligators' eyes glow orange in the dark. (Check out this photo by John Moran.) The water we were in was only a couple of feet deep. Even though we weren't paddling, we were still drifting, and we collided with an alligator. We could feel our kayak actually lodge on top of it, and our entire kayak started to shake. Neither my husband nor I knew what to do, so we didn't do anything, hoping the alligator would just swim away. After all, before we got in our kayak, our tour guide told us that you would have to smack the alligator about 5 times in the head with the paddle to get an alligator to attack you. We must have ran into a particularly grouchy alligator, however, because this alligator decided to fight. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a sudden commotion and I heard a big splash, and when I turned my head, I was face to face with a 10 foot alligator who was leaping out of the water and coming straight towards my head with its mouth wide open. I am not exaggerating when I say it must have been 8 inches away from me at most. Some how, time completely slowed down, though, because in that split second, I some how had the ability to know exactly what I had to do. I took my paddle, pulled it towards me, and then jabbed it right in the alligator's mouth. The alligator fell back into the water and then my husband and I hightailed it out of there.

I wish I had a video of that to show you, but, fortunately, I was holding my paddle instead of my camera at the time. The funny thing is I guess everyone knows how obsessed I am with photography because someone actually asked if I took a photo. I was kind of busy.

So that was the end of our big Florida adventure, which turned out to be way too adventurous for me.  After that, I was very happy to return to New York City where the only wildlife I have to contend with is the pigeons.

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  1. Oh my goodness. I was creeped out just by the alligator through the mangrove tunnels, but then when I saw the dark picture w/ the head lanterns, my first thought was, "Yikes...there are alligators in that water!" Then, I kept reading. Oh, boy...what an adventure you had! Far too adventurouse for me!!!

    We did something similar at Bull's Bay, SC, where we went kayaking w/ sharks. I'll NEVER do that again...EVER. Glad you're all okay!

    Great sunsets. It must have been amazing to see them from the kayak.

  2. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I am so scared of alligators and your story is so frightening. When I started seeing the dark photos I was FREAKED out. Wow, thank goodness you are OK.

    Your sunset over the water is gorgeous.

  3. That is quite an adventure - I would have been on pins & needles. Last time we went kayaking I tipped over 3 times - but there weren't alligators in the water!

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  5. Michelle, I don't think I would have even gotten into the kayak if there were sharks.

  6. wow. i would have FREAKED! way to keep your head on straight and know what to do. love your pictures :) they are beautiful!