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Old 04-27-2011, 02:46 PM   #1
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canoeing + everglades = Alligators ???

I was wondering: i am going to the Everglades National Park at the end of the month for a few days and I was wondering if I could bring my canoe there?
This RoadTrip blog assures its fine but I feel nervous about it.
What do you all think?
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:53 PM   #2
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I used to live in FL and I travelled on Alligator Alley many times (the highway that runs from Naples on the gulf side to Miami on the east coast straight through the everglades) and the Alligators lay along the road shoulder sunning themselves. Personally I wuold not but that is my preference. Many people fish along the same highway on the road sides. Locals do it, that is my 2 cents of info!
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Old 04-27-2011, 03:58 PM   #3
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People do. I would not. I've gone fishing in the everglades in a boat but that was when I was young and we always had someone with a shotgun along.
Having said that we Floridians are always looking for someone to help feed our wildlife...
Enjoy your trip.
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Old 04-27-2011, 06:51 PM   #4
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I have lived in Florida for 30 years and bass fished a good bit of it in a canoe. I have never had a problem w/ alligators. I have met 1 or 2 water mocassins during those 30 years though,

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Old 04-27-2011, 07:25 PM   #5
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I lived in S. Florida for quite a while and never had an alligator come to check me out. They may watch from a distance, but won't come near you unless they have been fed by humans. Don't feed the gators. Crocadiles have been known to be aggressive. Just use common sense. We now live in South Louisiana and often frequent the Atchafalya Swamp (where Swamp People is done). See gators all the time. I worry more about other critters on land than the gators. We stay away from their nests and don't mess with them and they do the same to us. Have fun and enjoy the "Glades", it sure is something to see!
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Old 04-27-2011, 08:26 PM   #6
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I’ve canoed the wilderness water way from Flamingo to Everglades City aka Chokoloskee three times.
Shortest we did it in 12 days, longest we took 20 days without touching land.
Gators are more scared of you than you are of them.
I have hundreds of pictures of gators we passed. Respect them & remember you are visiting them!
Where people get in trouble is trying to paddle too close to the gator when they’re sunning themselves.
The gator will get spooked & try & make a dive. They’re tail comes in contact with your canoe & you upset.
The gator thinks you’re coming after him & turn to defend himself.
Do not EVER take alcohol when paddling. Even sober once out there everything looks the same.

Just outside of Flamingo is a small 9 mile loop called “Nine Mile Pond”. This is usually enough for the novice paddler.
If you are going to head out to any of the Chickees (open air structures) used for primitive camping you will need to get a permit at the rangers station.
I would not plan any overnight trips if you do not have extensive paddling experience, have a handheld GPS, compass, topo maps & know how to pack for total isolation. ie 1 gallon of water per person per day plus two extra gallons just to make sure.
By all means take lots of bug spray. However if you get stranded out on the water at dusk you’re basically a goner. The bugs will eat you alive & no amount of bug spray will save you.
There’s no experience like paddling the glads! Just remember you are the visitor. Pack it in, pack it out & take lots of pictures.

Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2011, 11:31 AM   #7
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No fear

I have photographed alligators from canoes, row boats, and more recently, kayaks. While it is intimidating to be in a boat that is smaller than some of the animals, I have never seen one act aggressively toward me. I have had a few close encounters by drifting too close to an animal that I hadn't seen, but those ended by the animal simply leaving. Alligators are one of my favorite animals. They need to be respected, but aren't nearly as scary as they seem. Adult humans are simply too big to interest most alligators.

I haven't been in small boats in the Everglades. Most of the bigger waterways have very low concentrations of animals and I don't think you will find any different risks than I have seen in Okeefenokee, Peace River, or Myaka. I have spent a few weeks in the wilderness of the Everglades in houseboats, but our focus was fishing the gulf coast tide water, only passing through alligator territory on the way in and out. If you are planning to attempt the wilderness, I agree that you need to be well prepared for navigation (everything looks exactly the same out there) and backcountry travel. And the bugs (mosquitoes, no-see-ums) are a real test of self control, even if you are fully covered in netting and repellant.

I have never heard if freshwater fishermen have problems while reeling in fish. Splashing desperate fish attract predators (e.g., barracudas and sharks). In Alaska, we have to cut our lines if a bear approaches. I wouldn't be surprised if alligators can be a problem.

Take the canoe and have fun.
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:40 PM   #8
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I grew up in Miami...(so glad I left .. Just don't tip over and you will be okay... I would worry more about snakes and mosquito! Have fun!! Take you sun screen!

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Old 04-28-2011, 06:15 PM   #9
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I used to paddle canoes and camp overnight in the Okeefenokee swamp many many times in my younger years. NEVER had any problems. Just remember to respect the gators- and don't mess with them around their nests or eggs/babies. The other poster is correct- they are more afraid of you than you are of them....up to a point. They have very small brains, with one thing in mind- eat. You don't want to be on the menu!!! Randy
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:27 AM   #10
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3 Happy Campers,
We have done this trip twice and it is one of my favorite paddles in Florida. I have paddled nearly all the big paddle rivers in Florida and have had our share of gators with the biggest one encountered on the Juniper Run in the Ocala National Forest, that thing was pushing 14 feet!

The 10,000 Islands section of the Everglades is quite pretty and day trip out of either Everglades City or Flamingo would be nice, but the state bird will be starting to get hungry at the end of the month, so bring your sunscreen, a good hat and bug repelliant. Maybe get one of those nice long sleave Columbia fishing shirts and paddle in that...enjoy your trip down is not the alligators you need to worry about, it is all the pythons now living there
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