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Gatorville

We headed off from fort myers campspot south thru Naples which i think has probably been one of the ritziest places we hav been thru in some ways what i kinda imagined Malibu would be but so wasn’t. The homes line the canals n coast in giant gated communities or behind massive manicured hedges that let only a peep at the glamorous home that stands behind in it. The beach or coastline appears to be very inaccessible at these points to the general public. The main street was a cross between a modernised amalfi coast meets modernised Paris .. its hard to describe intricate architecture yet modern n sleek at the same time, with ‘club’ being the most popular word in town – country club, golf club, beach club.

We left the rich n i am sure some famous behind n kept heading south then a kick east on hwy 41 found us on the tamiami trail – a cross of Tampa n Miami i believe. This is actually quite popular here mixing the two or three city names together to form a usually unpronounceable name.

The tamiami trial links the west of the ‘boot leg’ of Florida with the east n of course Miami n is also a bit of border for the Everglades NP. The glades is the 3rd largest park ( Yellowstone n death valley are bigger). It actually not a swamp but a wet prairie. Alot of the water sits like a water sheet just below the surface in the limestone rock n moves underground .. very slowly .. but moves to the gulf of Mexico. Over the years agricultural demands n the fact that water for Miami comes from the everglades has put much greater pressure on water in the park n it no longer flows as freely or as much n the park is as the rangers put it its alive but on life support. Several measures have been n will be implemented to improve the flow of water to hopefully ensure the parks survival.

We ventured into Shark Valley – so named due to the bull sharks found at the mouth of the river where it meets the gulf of Mexico n because Tampa is about 19ft above sea level n Miami about 22ft shark valley is about 7ft so you see its a valley /;-)

This is the western entry point into the ‘glades we took a small walk with one of the rangers who pointed out some birds n gators .. yay we hav seen real wild gators two were less then a metre away phufff mean my arse docile more like it our crocs would eat ’em for a snack! 🙂 we also saw some slithery thing urghhhhhhhhhhh

We then took the ranger guided tram around the 15mile loop of the park with ranger chris who was an absolute hoot. Describing the very non native Burmese pythons that are invading taking over n causing serious damage in the park .. he starts off small so he eats insects then rats then rabbits then chickens oh then spike your best mate for years suddenly disappears oh no poor spike right time for the python to go so they throw him out in the park .. very funny. There is a cool observation tower so you can see out over the park n see some vultures n other birds nesting up high in the trees. There was a big storm brewing but somehow we managed to avoid it all which was good cause the tram only had a roof!

We left the park on closing .. becoming a bit a habit too .. n headed for homestead/Florida city for the night. Fuel has got expensive again i guess no surprise we are in Florida bit like California everyone wants to be there so there is a price to pay for that. It had also obviously poured with rain in there – the storm we were watching n missed in the park.

We found our park for the night n with poor weather n internet we sat down to a movie – real steel – was quite cool i enjoyed it far more then i thought i would

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