Sunrise on the Everglades

Sunrise on the Everglades

Down in South Florida after OSGeo, visiting my Dad and Grandma. This part of the country has some of the most spectacular sprawling exurbs and wide ass roads. I spent part of my childhood down here, and used to visit my grandparents here in Hollybrook back when it was in the sticks, a retirement oasis among endless blocks of cattle fields and pine trees. Familiar bleached-car-centered-single-family-home-big-box-shop has enveloped this place. Fortunately there’s the semi-natural Everglades barrier providing some end point to the American Dream.

The cities of South Florida may be huge, but the Everglades is huger. Most folks are just dimly aware that it’s there, and used to be right here before massive hydrological projects made building here possible. It’s not that far away really, and you can easily get out there on an air boat. I almost think it should be ecofascist compulsory to take a trip out there and get some awareness of the natural world which seems so far away.

My Dad and I got up early this morning, hit the Waffle House, and drove to where endless development ended, giving way to mega-churches, plant nurseries, and finally nothing at all. Rented a little motor boat from the Everglades Holiday Park just to take a look around, which is slightly unusual to the leather skinned old timers running that place. It is canals around this point and not proper Everglades, but that doesn’t stop tons of egrets, herons, cormerants, and a cardinal from hanging out. Zipping down the canals, sky reflecting on the water, like flying between two worlds. Found two alligators, scaring one into a dive with a big splash. The highlight was spotting a bald eagle perched on a dead tree, taking off with a fish in its talons. Here’s our tracks on mapufacture (lines aren’t yet supported on mapufacture for arcane reasons). No wildlife pictures, did get a shot of Dad, he’s easier to capture.

dad in everglades

This was my second outing on the Everglades. A couple years ago, Anna and I canoed in Everglades National Park, in the Flamingo area, where the definition of land, river and sea blurs gradually. I hope to spend more time in the Everglades, it’s a unique place, deserves hydrological and ecological restoration. Work on developing spatial ecological models in the Everglads was some of the first work on “computational ecology” I came across.