So I went on a ride today with the Dorks of Seminole County, looking for snakes with a milkshake bounty.
No one found a snake so no one won a shake, but check out the baby gators. I think I deserve a chocolate and peanut butter shake after that find; they were gorgeous and I was very tempted to pick one up, but mama was right there and she had her hands full with a much larger male, who had a taste for his own kind. I actually found one of the reddest Nerodia fasciata I have ever seen, but that was in a ditch by the house. He got away before I could catch him. The gators were at the North Shore Apopka nature drive.
I handed Lily my phone to take a pic of an alligator, and realized there was some bonus footage of the dorks when I went to upload. They are crazy and a lot of fun, but alligators must not hear high pitch or maybe they associate it with food. Whatever auditory abilities they do possess the girls were not able to scare them off.
I was trying to be all stealth and catch this baby soft-shell, only to realize that he was someone else's prior kill. It was probably a bird that got him, but pretty shell. What a great place to take a drive though and rumor has it that the lake is 40% better in regards to pollution and clarity from when they started the restoration. It definitely supports a strong gator population.
Matt loves to take these sort of drives into the undeveloped areas, where the possibility for an encounter of the natural kind increases. He is ultra passionate about the outdoors and carries an appreciation for a variety of creatures. I have only seen a few water snakes this year, but this one is gorgeous and fat. She is in a protected area, unlike the lake where I live. At the lake behind the house, she would be confused for a moccasin, and some one would feel it their sworn and faithful duty to kill her. She is a sign of a health and an important part of her ecosystem. Her young provide food for bass, birds and alligators. She helps reduce the frog and rodent population, and if you pause a moment, look at her, realizing your fear is unfounded and disproportionate, you may find her even beautiful.
We went bass fishing with Brian this weekend, and while we saw no monsters to the boat, we did take 10 bass on Lake Destiny, most near or in deep water. Once I put on a crank that could hit the 9 foot mark, I started tagging some of the suspended bass. Lily took several on a shaky head, Brian on shakys and ribbon, and a little time was taken to jump in and cool off in the water. I love going out on the water, but I will always be a bank fisherman first, then a paddler and finally a boater. I hope, if anything, Scalelily has been a means to prove that the outdoors, fishing and family time is never so far away as what you don't have. I never needed a boat to catch a fish in general, and I have learned to appreciate what is available around me. My children are learning about the outdoors and sharing it with others. I am looking for a part time job in the fishing industry and will use that to facilitate more adventures and hopefully introduce my kids and other children to more outdoor variety. Salt season is getting close and it would be nice to teach the girls about some reds and flounder, but all in good time. Remember, the greatest secrets to fishing success, are listening and going.