Thursday, July 24, 2008

Flying Across The Swamp

A friend recently offered me a ride on his airboat. The ride would take us across the beautiful, but quite alligator-infested wetlands of Lake Kissimmee at dusk. I must admit that at first I was a bit reluctant. I grew more apprehensive as my friend briefed me on what to do should the boat begin to take on water in the swamps. Though an avid boater and fisherman, I've never really had too much of an interest in airboats.

So he starts this huge aircraft engine up and we both don headphones to shield us from the noise. We creep along slowly as we make our way from the dock to the open water. All of a sudden my buddy hits the gas and off we go....

Absolutely exhilarating! We fly skimming over both land and water at what seems, at least to me, to be something akin to the speed of sound. All the while taking in the beauty of the landscape. White tail deer, albino deer, hogs, birds, and yes, even alligators. Oh, and did I forget to mention the absolutely breathtaking sunset.

As night falls I can't help but wonder just how my buddy will navigate home through the pitch black darkness without any GPS navigation equipment aboard. He smirks delighting in my childlike naiveity. He dons a hat with a light atop and asks me if I want to watch him catch a gator.

On our way back he gets within touching distance of mammoth gators. He even catches a small gator and encourages me to feel the soft body before he lets her go. I am amazed at the sight of all these glowing eyes surrounding us.

Quite the experience I must say for a guy from Long Island whose experience with the swamps is limited to National Geographic shows. I'm glad that I did it and I hope to do it again. Thanks for the ride brother!