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Geek Cruise - Linux Lunacy 2 - Day 8 - Disembarkation and the Everglades
We were up very early. Our bags were gone. Had a quick breakfast and then grabbed the last of our gear and headed for the Rembrandt Lounge to wait for disembarkation. The Maasdam docked at Fort Lauderdale, and we eventually got to leave. Headed through a very informal Immigration Department and were pulled up short. We didn't have Green Cards or American passports so we had to fill in a form. Bugger. We hadn't been told anything about any forms form, but I should have known that we needed to fill one out. They gave us one, we filled it out, and were quickly pushed through the line. We were rushing because we had a tour of the Everglades to meet.
Grabbed our bags and Customs was a doddle. Made it to the bus and it was full. Absolutely full. One spare seat at the front, which Anne took, and one spare seat way down the back beside the toilet which I endured. We had a one hour bus trip to the Everglades.
This is the airboat before us. I've seen these things on TV for many years. Now we get to ride one. The airboats are really really loud. So we all had earplugs. And our guide had to bellow at us when he cut the engine to look at something.
And this is the Everglades. It's shallow water, with grass growing through it. Occasionally there are small islands. At a distance, it's like a sea of grass, but up close, it's all water.
We drove around and looked at the grass and the water and got a feel for what the Everglades are. And then we went looking for alligators. There were plenty of them. This was the first one we spotted - just eyes and snout.
There were plenty more, and we got close.
At one stage we got caught in the middle of an alligator rumble. Two were fighting and more were heading their way. This one decided to leave.
It was pretty. The water and the grass made interesting patterns.
At one stage, they tried to dry up some of the Everglades by planting melaleuca trees. Those trees suck up a lot of water. But when they changed their mind, they tried to get rid of the melaleuca and found that it spread rapidly when they tried to cut it and burn it. Now they are going for the slow approach and slowly ring-barking and poisoning the trees. So there are lots of dying melaleuca trees around.
The tour soon ended and we headed back to buses. Picked up our cheaply-printed photo and got on the bus. I was back with the toilet again and Anne had the front seat again. We headed for the airport. An hour later, we arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport. We couldn't even check in we were so early. We hung around for hours until we could get out bags in the system. And then we hung around for hours more till the flight left. We had another rush through Atlanta, but it wasn't quite as bad this time. And we finally got back to Norfolk at about 11pm, grabbed the car from long-term parking and headed home. A cup of tea, I unpacked, and tidied up, and then it was a normal day at work next day.
We had a great time. The cruise was fantastic. Next year, the Linux Lunacy Cruise goes to Alaska and Anne and I will be on it.