day 74
sarasota, florida

"Was that the raccoon, or was that an alligator
eating the raccoon?" -a.
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Oh I Wish I Were an Oscar Scherer Gator:
Scaly: Yes
Blood: Cold
Speed: Faster than you
Eat Humans: On occasion

Claim to Fame: The sign above states that large gators may attack deer or humans, so swim with caution. Shouldn't it say "Get the Hell Out of the Frickin Water for frick's sake?"

Camoflauge of the Day
Don't Pet the Gators: That's Good Advice.
Just before we paddled of with our rental canoe, we asked the Park Ranger if there was any chance we'd spot gators in the creek. She said we might, but if we did see them, they are wild animals and we shouldn't try to pet them. As if my first instinct upon being approached by a huge man-eating lizard would be to cuddle.

Welcome to the Jungle
Nov 8 - In Louisiana, swamp tours cost $39.95 per person. "Guaranteed to see gators!" they say, from the comfort of a large safe boat.

Swamp Tours are for sissies.

It's obvious that the gator tourism industry hasn't boomed yet, at least not in Sarasota, because for a mere $5.35 we were geared up and ready to paddle through alligator infested waters in our own tiny canoe. Now that's getting your money's worth.

While I'm sure the swamp tours are interesting, I think it's much scarier when you are paddling along on your own, not knowing what is around the corner, and also mentally calculating your excape plan should a huge 10-footer suddenly jump from the water. Gator watching is all about the suspense.

What was that ripple? Did you see that ripple?

Look! There was a splash. Was that a fish?

Ack! A rustle in the bushes. Bird or gator?

We spent nearly two hours paddling along the river in this wired state of frenzy. There were times when we stopped paddling to scan the surface of the water for those dreaded eyes and nose poking up for air.

About every ten minutes, a fish would jump 2 feet straight out of the water, twist and splash down. It was as though the river was keeping us entertained while we waited for the big catch.

We were sunburnt, tired, and had yet to see a single gator. Oh, we saw many a sign of the mysterious beast: Chewed up oysters, footprints and scrapings along the sides of the river told the true tale, but the gators weren't up for visitors today.

And then, suddenly, a GIANT BEAST FLUNG ITSELF AGAINST THE CANOE AND HURLED KEVIN INTO THE WATER!!! Naw, just kidding. We still didn't see any.

But, as Disney has taught us, it's all about the show. Forty bucks for a glimpse of a guaranteed gator in a 30 foot boat doesn't hold a candle to the excitement you get from a five dollar canoe ride through the swamp.

Swamp tours. Pah! We know where the real party is.

Meet Mr. Smartypants: State Park Raccoon
Name:Mr. Smartypants
Home:Oscar Scherer State Park
Nocturnal:Nope. Unlike other raccoons, I'm up and about at all hours of the day. I generally like to cause trouble after breakfast and dinner. Competition is scarce since the other raccoons are sleeping during the day.
Recreation:Breaking into campsites, scaring little kids, eating garbage from the dump station.
Biggest Fears:Being eaten by a gator while fishing in the creek. I'm also not fond of the water that these goons keep on throwing at me everytime I try to say hello. Don't they know I'm a friendly raccoon? Oh yes, and Cyril Sneer.
Favourite Song:Rocky Raccoon

of the jungle...

Damn, that's a cool tree

Looking for gators in the trees

Anytime, anywhere

more photos in the archive...

Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Sarasota, FL

Next Stop: Fort Lauderdale

see the full map...

Today's Weather:
Too Hot, Even For Gators

Daily Stats
Gas: $0
Gators Spotted: 0
Gators Eaten: 1

Spider Watch 2001:
Really Big Spiders: 2
Big Spiders: 5
Glowing Spiders:8
Orange Spiders: 12

Sleeping Quarters
Oscar Scherer State Park

Site 13. It's like camping in the middle of a rainforest. The spiders are bigger than our spoons and their webs are bigger than our tent. Half our time is spent looking over our shoulders to see what's making that sound.

Cost: $20.30

Captain Eddie's
K's Order:Gator Basket with Fries
A's Order:Shrimp Creole Soup
Oscar Scherer
Both:Four Cheese Ravioli

Rough Going:
Kev was our cook tonight and he had a rough time of it. After burning himself four times in four different places, he left it to Aimee to start the after-dinner fire.

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© 2001. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. You in the Jungle, Baby. You Gonna Die.