Monday, 30 March 2015

I'm Excited

I'm excited, about to do something I have always wanted to do; I'm going on an airboat ride in the Everglades. I've always been interested in the Everglades. Yesterday's drive across this vast habitat of water and bunch grass peaked that interest even more. The Everglades are unique, a one-of-a-kind ecosystem, not easily repeated and not found elsewhere.

The Everglades actually begin up near Disneyworld, in Orlando, Florida, with the Kissimmee River flowing into Lake Okechobee. This massive resevoir of water begins a slow moving journey to the sea, forming a river some 60 miles wide and 100 miles long as it moves through a shallow, grassy region of South Florida. The Everglades themselves were once described as a river of grass, interlaced with a million small ponds, canals and backwaters.

The land is deceiving as you drive across it. Vast fields look solid, ready for cattle, yet one step onto that grass sinks you into water anywhere from a few inches to several feet deep. It's the perfect home for creatures like snakes, bugs, birds, and of course, alligators. It's not all water; there are dry spots, places where the land is firm. Even these spots look deceiving; if you look at the trees they land appears to rise up in hillocks. In fact the trees get higher as they get more centered on the high patch. The trees closer to the edge are lower. This makes any dry patch appear as a lump or hump, when it fact its only that the trees near the middle are taller than those exposed to the water's edge.

The whole of South Florida is wet, even in the dry season. While there may be a drought, the underlying aquifer exchanges vast amounts of water from ocean to land, bubbling up as springs and swamps, only to drift lazily back to sea again in a thousand rivers and streams. There is so much water here that only the edges of this part of the state, the sandy land hear the beaches, present good building spots. The middle of South Florida is mostly empty, like a badly formed doughnut, except that the southwest part has no civilization at all; it's one giant river mouth.

Today I get to explore some of that doughnut hole, that middle part where water is the dominion of creatures which are foreign to me. I get to learn something new. I'm excited.

1 comment:

  1. It is always exciting to do something you have dreamed of.