Today we drove, top down towards Cape Canaveral to take a trip on one of those “Gentle Ben” style air boat rides that are the done thing when you are in Florida.

A Bald Eagle from our air boat, Florida

A Bald Eagle from our air boat, Florida

Our sat-nav guided us to the venue without too much trouble, only a slight hickup taking us 2 miles (which in US context is nothing) in completely the wrong direction for some reason.   We pulled into the empty car park, with no sign of life other than a pickup parked on the grass near what was obviously the shop entrance.  As we walked gingerly into the shop, we were greeted with a friendly lady whose voice I recognised from the earlier booking telephone call, “you must be Morris… your captain will be with you shortly” she hollered and pointed us in the direction of some camouflage covered seats to await his arrival.

In what must have been a deliberate attempt to tick as many cliché boxes as possible, we had to step over a large pig (yes pig), negotiate our way past at least 5 snakes (including a python) and along the line of stuffed Gator heads to our seats.   My attention was drawn to the “Rockets of the World” poster, showing world rockets all to scale from smallest to American – I thought to myself while we awaited our captain that it must have been a difficult exorcise collating that information given how secretive many countries are about their rockets and if you were to do it train spotting style this would be even tougher given how fast rockets generally travel.

Florida Everglades

Amongst the Cypress trees in a feeding tributary into St. John's river, Florida

We shared our boat with only 2 others – a man in his early twenties and his great grand father – plus of course the captain. Our captain/driver/tour guide took us on a whirlwind (literally) ride through along the St. John’s river pointing out the wild life plus an indian burial ground.   It would have been nice if he had identified the flora and fauna more than once for each item, he was a little too economical with his words – “Blue Heron over there, and that is a Cormorant” was kind of all we got despite the large number of both birds on display and there must be more to each species than their names!

The highlight was being taken into the mangroves amongst the Cypress trees, extraordinarily beautiful.

Our fellow passengers on the trip, approached us in the car park afterwards – in a Grandpa from The Simpsons moment the first words the great grandfather declared to us were “I drove semi’s for 40 years you know!”, and when we asked him if he had ever been to Scotland he declared: “I ain’t never been out the state much, ‘sept to Main on one of those big planes, y’know big planes”… big plane arm waving followed.   The grandson seemed a little embarrassed.

See: airboatridesatmidway.com