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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Everglade alligators

Gotcha! No, we did not see ANY alligators in the Everglades, despite our attempts to find them.

We cruised 57 miles from Marco Island anchorage to Little Shark River, in the Everglades. It was nice to have Charlie and Brandi, on Bama Belle, following us. We could not believe the number of crab pots. Crab pots are cages that are attached to a line with a round Styrofoam ball on top that floats to the surface. Usually we use the autohelm to steer, but with so many pots, we had to steer around the pots. At one point we snagged a pot and our cutters cut it loose. Snagging a crab pot can be a serious problem. The cord can wrap around the shaft of the propeller and stop motion. Since we were cruising in huge Florida Bay, we certainly didn't want to invite such a problem.

When we arrived at Little Shark River we entered slowly, watching our depth sounder. With a draft of 4 feet 2 inches, we have to be very careful. Shoaling forms as the river winds. We moved into the river a short distance and anchored. For the first night we tied alongside (tied together) with Bama Belle, but decided on the second day, after viewing the weather report, which predicted up to 30mph winds, we should anchor separately and find a spot that was protected. The storm blew through in a few hours. Crawdad had swung on the anchor and ultimately turned 360 degrees. This was due to wind and tide.

The sunrises and sunsets were amazing. As were the fog and reflection on the water.

We tried to find alligators after dark with our searchlight, looking for the reflective eyes, but the alligators were not to be found. The dolphins on the other hand where plentiful and fed along the shore in groups. It would have been fun to have stayed longer and ventured farther into the Everglades, but Boo and Jim voted to head to civilization and real grass.

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