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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Florida Road Trip Day 13 - Santibel Island: Tour of Tarpon Bay

It was our second day on Santibel Island today. Since yesterday we had seen the mangrove swamp from the land we decided to try to see its other side today. After a flurry of phone calls, and a potential but avoided cancellation due to another thunderstorm I was able to get us on the boat today.

Our guide, one of the parks rangers, gave us a little lecture before our boat ride. We were able to play in her touch tank of animals and fish that she caught right in tarpon bay. I always love talks like this, I learn so much and it is awesome to be able to see, touch and interact with the creatures as we were learning about them. Ahhh if only school could have been as interesting!

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We were lucky that the boat was set up to handle people with disabilities, because of this our stroller fit on the boat. I was worried about taking my Little Cricket out on the water, but he has been on boats before, and with Mr. Rogue and I both taking turns to give him many breaks he was a happy little guy.

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We saw so many cool things, more than I was thinking that we would see. The Rookeries were super cool to see. This boat ride was close to dusk and the birds were coming in from the sea to nest for the night. These Rookeries make perfect places for these birds to get some sleep without having to worry about predators. Although it was off season for the birds we still did get to see quite a bit of them. We also saw dolphin, manatees and even two stingrays. And then right off the side of the boat I spotted a sting ray with a school of fish using those stinging tentacles as protection. So cool. Our driver and the ranger we both really happy with the turnout we were getting on the water today.

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But by far the coolest thing we got to see was a pretty good look at an American Saltwater Crocodile. The ranger was over the moon that we spotted one. With only about 2000 in the wild now they are very rare to see. Most locals actually have never even seen one. We were all pretty geeked, or at least I was!

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I also got to see quite a few birds close up. These birds in this sanctuary are really used to people and don’t seem too alarmed with me getting close for photos. It always makes it easier when the model isn't too shy.

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By the time the sun really started setting Mr. Rogue started to get more excited. He just loves landscape photography and with the storm that blew by we had some awesome cloud cover. It was such a beautiful boat ride, and the heat didn't even feel too bad on the boat with the Florida air conditioning going (Driving on a boat is Florida air conditioning). HA!

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