One of the best things about becoming a writer, besides all the havoc I get to wreak in my characters' lives, is finding opportunities to get out and meet new readers, at various events around central Florida. And none of the lovely events I've done, from slide shows, to afternoon teas, to chatting with local book clubs, is more fun than an afternoon with St. Johns River Eco Tours. Saturday, January 14, was just such a day. I've been lucky enough to go out on the Naiad many times over the years, starting way before I wrote my first book, and it's always an exceptional event. Being invited along on a tour to do a reading from one of my books is even more fun. At least for me. Hopefully the rest of the passengers enjoy it, too. (So far, none of them have put me off the boat along the way, so I'm taking that as a good sign.)
Both Doug and I were so busy having fun on this last trip, we didn't take any pictures. (And ONE of us is a professional wildlife photographer, too. Not mentioning any names here--Doug! ) Luckily, one of our lovely passengers took quite a few, and gave me permission to share them with you. Thank you so much, Georgia.
Because I was gone all day today, I'm going to focus more on visuals than text, and I hope you'll enjoy these pics enough to book a tour one day, yourself. If you've never been, you'll have to take my word for it that it's an outing that's good for the soul. There's something healing and restorative about water, whether it's the seashore, a placid lake, or the ever-flowing waters of the St. Johns, with a new vista around every bend. And just look what a gorgeous day we had! A china blue sky, with fat puffy clouds kept us company the whole tour! Lovely!
Alligators were out in fairly good numbers, and we spotted several medium-to-large (quite large, in one case) adults. The day was warm enough for them to be up and basking in the sun. And mostly, they pay very little attention to the tour boats, so passengers are able to get lots of good shots.
I know this picture isn't quite as clear as some, but I wanted to show you Georgia's picture of a limpkin, one of my favorite birds. Believe it or not, people come from all over the world to see our limpkins, as they have a very limited, though slowly expanding, range. These are handsome brown and white birds that feed primarily on apple snails, and I'll no doubt do a full post on them in the future.
Talk About Strange Wildlife!
Just when you thought this post was going to be all birds, reptiles, and scenic beauty, up I pop!
Doug, Trying to Get Me to Pop Back Down Again . . .
And Did I Mention All The Alligators? (Look Hard. Another One Lurking In the Middle.)
Alligator, or No Alligator, I Just Keep on Reading, and Answering Bookish Questions.
I've been hiking and birding in Florida almost all of my adult life, in addition to a stint working at Florida Audubon, back in the day, and I can honestly say that Doug is a true fountain of knowledge about the river, its eco-system, its wildlife, and its history. I learn something new on every single cruise, and love watching passengers soak up all that good information, too, as they watch the scenery unfold in front of them. It's the best two hours you can spend in central Florida, as far as I'm concerned, and I know every person on this particular cruise would agree. Plus, the dashing Captain Dooley is filled with interesting and informative tidbits, too, which he gladly shares along the way.
This Would Be the Aforementioned Dashing Captain Dooley, Along with the Beautiful and Gracious Georgia.
All in all, this Meet the Author cruise was one to remember! I think I can safely say every one of us learned some new and interesting stuff, and a good time was had by all. So, with that, I'm going to wrap up until next week. Hope you enjoyed this little taste of what a first-class eco tour is like. Can't wait to meet you on one.
What beautiful photos. I had to look closely for the limpkin. They have very good camouflage!
The gator photos were great, and it looks like you and everyone else had a fantastic time. I would love to do an Eco Tour someday!
Georgia did a great job capturing some of the tour highlights. Limpkins do have very good protective coloration, but you can get excellent photos of them, often, because they will let you get a lot closer than you might think. My next bird post might be on limpkins, and then you'll see how gorgeous they really are. (Doug has some fantastic photos of them).
We really did have fun, and I would LOVE to take you for a tour some day. We'd have such a good time!! I'm tellin' ya . . . it's the best two hours you can spend in central Florida. Thanks for stopping by today! Always so good to hear from you.