Our Viva!

Outdoor Resorts of Chokoloskee Island • Chokoloskee, FL • MAR 12, 2019

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We took Route 29 off the Tamiami Trail and drove through Picayune Strand State Forest and Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, then on down to the Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City. We have now been to 33 different National Parks, with number 34 coming up soon. After taking a couple of photos at the entrance sign, we then made a short jaunt north again to Jungle Erv's Airboat Tours. Whenever we do something for the first time (neither of us had been on an airboat), Rick is almost always goes first, as he did this time. That turned out for the best. Jungle Erv's airboats are small and fast…very, very fast! Rick was a plus-one with a group of five young women (the airboat seats six), and we raced through the mangroves on channels not much wider than the airboat. When we came into a more open space, the airboat captain would send us careening sideways through an arcing spray of Everglades water—fun! Unfortunately, there were no gator or snake sightings—the only wildlife we saw was a family of raccoons, which came right up to the airboat when our captain stopped next to the mangroves where they hang out.

Linda's experience was much different. She was a plus-one with a family of five…a young couple, their two small children, and a grandmother. One child was about three, the other under a year-old. I was talking to the airboat captain when the five-some approached, and he was visibly upset when he saw the kids, saying they were way too young to go on an airboat ride. But they had tickets, so he loaded them on his airboat and Linda therefore didn't race down narrow canals at breakneck speed only to do tight 180s in open water. It all worked out the way it should have, because although Linda is certainly adventurous, she is not a speed freak and she doesn't like to spin around…things Rick often seeks out! Still, her ride would have been more enjoyable without the kids who were far too young for that experience.

Any minor disappointment Linda might have felt about her airboat ride vanished when we pulled into our spot at the Outdoor Resorts of Chokoloskee Island. Our site was directly on the water—Chokoloskee Bay. We sat mesmerized, watching boats and birds, especially pelicans who preferred to perch on a "Manatee Speed Zone" sign mounted on a post a few yards offshore. We were treated to a colorful sunset before calling it a night, and then we awoke to an equally colorful sunrise.

Although we love camping on Flagler Beach at Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, it was nice to camp on the water and not have to deal with tracking sand in the Viva!

Click for ALL of this trip’s PHOTOS (23 total)
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