Hello blogosphere! I have missed you. I have been laid up for a week with the flu but am now crawling my way back. Since I have not been at my best, I thought it might be fun to write about another time I was not on top of my game. So, today we are going to talk about travel mishaps. And I don’t mean weather events, acts of God, or other factors out of our control. I’m referring to those instances when we need to look in the mirror and admit “mea culpa.” We are human, and humans make mistakes. I hope you will either laugh at or learn from mine and share your own!
“We are just going to stop here for a moment,” our guide Jon casually said as he slowed his kayak. The reason for the pause lurked just around the bend of the narrow mangrove tunnel. The happy banter of the morning halted rather abruptly. We had seen many alligators sunning themselves on the banks of the Turner River that morning, but the one that lay ahead of us was in a different league, and it was blocking our path. With its eyes and snout barely poking out of the water, many, many feet back (too many) we could just barely make out the tip of its tail. Using our 14-foot double kayaks as a benchmark, Jon estimated the gator to be about 12 feet long—about as big a beast as you are going to find in this northwestern section of the Everglades ecosystem (we were technically in Big Cypress National Preserve, immediately adjacent to Everglades National Park).
The timing for this encounter was unfortunate. We had been on the water for two hours and had just reached the innermost and narrowest point of the tunnel. Turning the kayaks around was physically impossible. So we waited. And waited.