The Planning is Almost Finished – Travels with Allie.
What a great day we’ve had today as our non-theme park visit to Orlando continues. We were up and out for 0830 and heading south to Lake Tohopekaliga, a truly massive lake surrounded by swamp and shallow reed beds and heavily covered around the edge with water lilies and water hyacinths. The water lilies were enormous and in bud. They were a magnificent sight in themselves and I would love to see them fully in flower.
Anyway, it took us something like 55 minutes to drive there and Boggy Creek Airboats are sited on the lake edge about as deeply in the sticks as you can get in a car. We had a coffee and walked around their garden. They have an alligator pond with maybe 20 young alligators in residence, all on loan from Gatorland. Then we sat in the sun by the dock and waited to board our boat at 1010. It was so peaceful and serene. A cormorant was drying his wings on the dock next to us.
Our airboat held 10 passengers and the captain and we were issued with ear mufflers as the boat is quite noisy. I dont think they were strictly necessary but we wore them anyway.
And off we zoomed, over water, reeds, plants….. the airboat is very shallow in the water, no rudder or keel and it is steered by an enormous fan on the back passing air over two foils. It goes very fast despite being laden.
We saw about 5 basking alligators during our hour on the water. They are almost hibernating this time of year and very docile. A bird was perched on one of them.
We also saw turtles and an enormous quantity of water birds – coots, white and grey storks, different wading birds, a bald eagle, cormorants….. there were water buffalo in the shallows and also weirdly, cows grazing on the water plants…..
An unusual excitment happened about 10 minutes into the tour!! A SpaceX rocket launch to the ISS went up and we got a vrey good if distant view of it. Amazing to see and we will see another from close quarters when we are in Cocoa Beach later in the holiday.
The captain was very informative and the hour was just not long enough…… I could easily have spent half a day out there on the water. It was so beautiful.
We came back to the apartment for lunch and then in the early afternoon we drove the couple of miles to Disney Springs. This is the area within Walt Disney World that is open to the public and consists of an enormous entertainment and food, beverage and retail area. All made picturesque in that Disney manner, on Village Lake.
We parked up and spent several hours walking around, admiring the views, reading menus for future reference – there are some 60 food outlets alone – and looking at events at House of Blues, Cirque de Soleil and the massive cinema complexes. Had a really lovely time. We stopped and watched one of the little car boats being launched at the Boathouse. They are motor boats that run on land as little vintage looking sports cars. It was cute. The passengers were an elderly man and two lady companions. The ladies sat in the back and the captain driver had good banter with them all.
Got back to the apartment at around 415 with tired feet but happy hearts. Bob made us enormous grilled pork chops for dinner. Delicious.