While out on the water in Florida, most people are looking to avoid an encounter with the wetlands 8-foot alligators. However, as we board our airboat with Captain Bob and head out into the Indian River County Marshlands in Vero Beach, gators are exactly what we are hoping to find.
Captain Bob, a long-time area resident, narrates the tour through a talk-around headset, allowing passengers to learn about the local history and the birds, plants, fish and of course, gators, who call the marshlands home.
The airboat glides smoothly across the water as we pass an osprey nest and lots of local vegetation. It doesn’t take long until Captain Bob has spotted the first gator of the morning, basking in the warm June sun.
As we continue through the marshlands, we spot a variety of alligators; everything from tiny foot-long gators scrambling through the muddy sandbanks to mid-sized 5-foot gators gliding silently along, with only their eyes poking out from the murky waters.
Near the end of our tour, as the sun beat down on the open water, we hit the gator jackpot as we came upon six to eight of the big guys.
This included an 8-footer that was close enough to the boat you could just reach out and pet him, although none of us decided to try!
By the end of the tour, we’d crossed paths with at least 20 gators. All in all, a successful day out in the Florida marsh!