I spent last week near Everglades National Park, the wetlands version of Yellowstone, and took my very first airboat tour. They give you ear protectors for a reason. My teeth are still shaking. But, the 45-minute ride with two Europeans was quite worth it – the ecology of swamp and hammock and cypress groves is gorgeous. And they were pretty spooked by the alligators.
Channels and canals lead airboat operators in Collier County from town into the wilderness. Fish hop out of the brackish water like acrobats and gators sun themselves on marsh banks. Midday sun is very, very bright.
Weaving among the cypress trees feels a bit like spelunking. The operator mentioned snakes that hung from the trees, but I think he was kidding. I think.