It was a breezy morning, and not as hot as previous days, so we decided to take Angel along. This was her first experience on a boat and we were really looking forward to it.
Angel walked onto the dock confidently, but when she realized that she was going into the boat, she did not look like a happy camper. She got very low and tried to clutch on to the dock, but Hector was able to soothe her, pick her up and place her gently inside the boat.
We slowly left the dock initially going through a no wake zone (there are manatees here). Once we left the no wake zone, the boat could only go a maximum speed of 15 knots so we weren’t exactly speed boating. In this environment, that was just fine.
We started out in an area called Coots’ Bay after the zillions of Coots that constantly swim in this area. These little guys are fun to watch as they run across the water, dive to get fish and generally frolic around. Angel was not really tuning in to the ducks, as she was low in the boat and unable to see them, but she was enjoying the breeze and all of the smells.
We then explored various mangrove islands in an area called Whitewater Bay. What was most surprising was that we found ourselves totally alone on the water – no other boats as far as the eye could see. It was fabulous.
There were tons of fish jumping around us and Gus spotted some tarpon in the water. This is one of the world’s premiere fishing hotspots with Redfish, Mangrove Snapper, Snook, and other gamefish species like Tarpon. Angel was oblivious to the fish, the wind was making her sleepy so she took a nap.
When we returned to the dock, we spotted one of the crocodiles that spends most of his time in the marina area. South Florida is the northernmost range of the crocodile and the only place you can see one in the United States.
So, what’s the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
American crocodiles are olive gray, have long, narrow snouts, and frequent only salt and brackish water habitats. Another way to recognize them is that both their upper and lower teeth are visible when their mouths are closed.
Alligators are black, have wide snouts, and are found mainly in freshwater locales, though they might occasionally venture into brackish water and saltwater. In contrast to the crocodile, only their upper teeth are visible when their mouths are closed.
The Everglades National Park is the only spot in the world where alligators live close by saltwater crocodiles.
Fortunately, Angel was clueless about the crocodile, protected as she was in the boat. Back at the dock, she posed for some photographs and let Hector lift her out of the boat. Then she headed home for another nap.