This morning we decided to grab a breakfast bag from the hotel reception and have breakfast once we pulled up outside the sanctuary. It was a lovely sunny day and we didn’t want to waste any of it. We jumped in the car and headed east for about 20 minutes before we arrived outside the gates of McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary.
Feeling hungry we opened the breakfast bags and ate. They contained a muffin, cereal bar, apple, bottled water and some mints.
I was surprised that we were in a residential area. In fact, the sanctuary looked like some one’s home from the front. We could spot a couple of guys working with power tools outside and there was an abundance of ‘beware’ signs on the gates.
Just as we finish eating, a young girl (about 30 years old…..young compared to me!!) came out to the car and invited us inside. I had been looking forward to visiting here for quite some time. McCarthy’s take in sick or injured animals and, where possible, release them back into the wild.
You have to make an appointment to visit here and are given a guided tour. Aneth was our guide today and she was from South Africa. We did find it pretty hard to understand her accent and had to really listen to every word. We started off being introduced to my first ever kinkajous who was adorable. I gently stroked his back as he clung to Aneth.
We saw quite a few big cats which had been donated to McCarthy’s by wildlife officers in cases of neglect and abuse. There was a Florida panther and white tiger sharing an enclosure. When we asked about them, we were told that they had been found together at a Studio6 apartment. A cleaner went in to clean the room and the two cats were in there. (I bet she didn’t hang around to see if they left a tip)
There were some birds waiting to be released later that day too. We wandered past the enclosures as Aneth told us the history behind the animals and reptiles. It took about 80 minutes for the tour. Josh….I took these for you…
Would I go back to McCarthy’s? No.
I do understand that they are a rescue centre but, the enclosures were just too small for my liking. I understand that the animals there are having a far better life today than they did when they were being abused but I just don’t like to see them without room to run around.
Back in the car we made our way over in the general direction for our airboat tour. DH was looking forward to this…I wasn’t sure about any motion sickness that may creep up on me!:sick007: When we arrived at the docking area for the tour, the guide was waiting for us. Jim was to take us on a three hour tour of the Everglades.
It was still a lovely day but I took along a sweater as I wasn’t sure how drafty it would be once we got going. It was quite a large step up onto the seat of the airboat but I made it…..just. Introductions out of the way and we were off. It’s a good job I had my sunglasses on as I don’t think my contact lenses would have stood up to the force!
Not long after we set off, we spotted a baby gator and a turtle. This is the way to see wildlife at its best…out where it belongs. I looked over at DH and he was grinning like a Cheshire cat so I gathered he was having fun. He was taking photos of the birds and gators.
Quite often, Jim would stop the airboat and we would have a few minutes just sitting in the middle of the Everglades, taking in the scenery….and the gators. Not a sound could be heard. At one point, we actually got off the airboat at a froggers hut. This was a wooden building out in the middle of the glades that had been used in the past as a base for guys catching frogs for a living.
The time went very quickly on this tour and we got back to the docking area at sunset.
This was our five day road trip coming to an end. It was time to head back to our villa in Davenport. One of the toll roads we took on the way back was the type you paid for at the end of the stretch of road. You take a ticket from the booth as you start the road and at the end of your section, you have a manned booth where they see how far you’ve gone and charge you accordingly. We have been through quite a few toll booths these past few days so we took on a little bet between the two of us…the loser buying dinner tonight. Along this stretch of road, we pulled in at a service station with a BurgerKing as DH was beginning to feel nauseous….he’s diabetic and needed food. So, this turned out to be dinner tonight! Anyway, DH bet the fee would be $1.80. I went way overboard and suggested $2.40. We pull up at the booth and the lady took the ticket from DH. My head was tilted towards her so I could hear the amount too.
“$13.70” says the lady without cracking a smile.
I then had to laugh at the unbelievable way DH said to her “how much?” His voice rose to a high pitch and his eyes were bulging. It had me in fits of laughter. We only just had that much cash on us too!
We called in at a 7 to 11 for some cold drinks and fruit before we got back to the villa at about 11pm. I put some washing in the machine and by the time I got up the stairs, DH was snoring. Hopefully, we would have a lovely lie in tomorrow and a quite relaxing day.