For another day in Florida my husband and I continued our laziness with tourist activities that required minimal effort.
We laid in bed and searched the internet for ideas, and decided a tour of the Everglades on an airboat would be amazing but wouldn’t require any physical exertion.
We hopped in our smelly rental car, and headed out to the Everglades.
When we arrived at Corey Billie’s Airboat rides (yes, that is the actual name of the place), we were greeted by a woman who didn’t have enough teeth to eat an ear of corn on the cob.
She introduced herself as Denise, and I swear I heard “Dueling Banjos” playing in the background while she spoke.
We were definitely out in the middle of nowhere and I just hoped she didn’t ask me to squeal like a pig.
We paid for our rides and headed out to the boat to get started with the tour.
We were greeted by our tour guide Kim, who, judging by her leathery face and wrinkles, appeared to be 120 years old. Since I knew she would defy modern science if she was actually that old, I estimated she was around 50, and had just never met a bottle of sunscreen.
Although she was less-than attractive, we decided not to turn back.
We already paid and weren’t going to ask for a refund just because our tour guide looked like the crypt keeper and with a name like “Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides,” these people had to be professional and knowldgeable.
Corey Billie was too prestigious of a name not to be.
We loaded up the boat with other passengers, and I tried to size up which one I was willing to sacrifice and throw overboard if an alligator looked at me the wrong way.
I narrowed it down to a 12 year old boy playing the air guitar and the boy’s dad. He talked in a southern accent and openly referred to himself as a hillbilly.
We took a photo of us all on the boat before we took off, most likely for insurance purposes in case we didn’t return or were eaten by alligators.
Although, come to think of it, I suspect Corey Billie doesn’t have insurance. Their establishment doesn’t scream “responsible,” what with their alligator carcasses strewn about.
Rather, if something happened, their remedy would be to offer a lifetime of free airboat rides as compensation for the loss of limbs.
Here is the photo before we left for our ride. Can you can pick out the annoying air guitar kid and the hillbilly dad? (This is like the southern, outdoorsy version of Where’s Waldo?)
Check out the sweet headphones we are sporting. We were required to wear ear protection, as the airboat was loud. Why is it that all my adventures in Florida require headgear? Didn’t Floridians know this is not my best look?
Now that I’m looking at this picture, it’s clear that I hadn’t fully recovered from the scooter ride from the day before, as I appear to be sitting with my legs open.
I look like I’m ready for some action, or maybe it’s just because the woman sitting next to me has her legs slammed shut harder than Ft. Knox.
After snapping this last shot, Kim started the airboat, which was a glorified fan on the back of a run-down fishing boat that reeked of dead fish. I thought it would be a nice, smooth, airboat ride, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Kim had a death wish, and she burned out, leaving a fan of dirty water in her wake.
As we sped down the Everglades, the dirty water splashing us in the face, we tried to look for alligators and wildlife, but sometimes lost focus when the filthy water splashed in our eyes.
I was concerned about getting the fungus in my contacts, but figured Kim might actually punch me in the face if I asked such a question, so I refrained.
We arrived at an open area and she stopped the boat for a few minutes while we looked for alligators. It was at this time that I looked over at the prissy woman sitting next to me and noticed her shoes. Seriously?! Look at this:
This woman was wearing Crocs on an alligator tour? The irony was not lost on me, but I suspect this woman was too busy trying to protect her virtue to see the humor in her shoes. I decided not to point it out.
After only spotting a baby alligator who was a bit skiddish, we pressed on to other portions of the Everglades where we could see more wildlife.
Kim started up the airboat again, I felt the familiar feeling of my ear drums exploding, and we resumed the death ride.
As I focused on constricting my bowls so as not to poo myself out of fear, I strained my eyes for alligators. I spotted one up ahead, and tried to alert Kim, but her zealous zooming of the airboat prevented her from hearing my cries. Fortunately, she spotted the alligator as well, and brought the boat to an abrupt stop.
While we all tried to recover from whiplash, we saw the large alligator coming straight toward us. He came right up to the boat and stared at us, not at all impressed by the kid’s air guitar or the woman’s Crocs.
Kim decided to feed the alligator. I strenuously objected as it didn’t seem to be her brightest idea.
Before we left on the ride, Kim made it clear the alligators are not domesticated. I just didn’t think it was smart to demonstrate to killer-animals that we are synonymous with food.
But then again, what did I know? I wasn’t wearing an alligator skinned necklace, so her vote trumped mine.
I figured she would throw small fish or maybe some bread, but to my surprise, she pulled out a bag of marshmallows. She then began throwing them at the alligator.
WHAT?! So many things were wrong with that action that I had to take a moment to process it, all the while keeping one eye on the killer animal and the other eye on the air guitar kid who was going to be my decoy if things got dicey.
Please note my stellar photography capabilities of capturing the marshmallow in mid-air
First, was it really a great idea to pelt a killer animal with food? The alligator probably didn’t appreciate getting knocked in the head by a woman with a face as leathery as his, regardless of whether the offending item was edible.
This just didn’t seem like a good decision.
Second, who knew alligators could eat and properly digest marshmallows? I suspect not one ingredient of marshmallowy goodness is found in nature.
You don’t usually see a cluster of Jet-Puffed Marshmallows growing wild in the Everglades (although if you do, let me know, as I would much prefer to take that tour).
I felt bad for the alligator, not just because she pelted him in the face with food, but also because he was most likely going to have digestion issues later.
I wanted to throw him some Tums to counter balance the effects of the marshmallows, but I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, so I refrained.
After all, this guy looked mean.
Several more marshmallows were pelted at the reptile, and although he snarfed them up, he was growing weary of the poor aim. He began to hiss, and immediately Kim said it was time to go.
Initially, I thought she was joking, but one look at her rugged face told me she was quite serious and that the alligator was angry. We moved away quickly to another spot with two more alligators.
We approached them slowly, most likely so Kim could engage in another surprise attack of the marshmallow variety. I was feeling a quesy because I knew they could jump into the boat at any moment if they wanted to.
As I was wishing I had packed a flask of vodka to calm my nerves, I looked up and saw this:
That little shit from before was barreling down on us, most likely to seek his revenge on Kim for her mean curve ball. I realize this picture may not seem scary, but to look up and see this 15-foot,wild alligator coming at you with vengence in his eyes, will make one pee her pants.
Hypothetically of course…
To make things worse, Air Guitar’s sister began clapping at the animals, as if they were dogs playing fetch instead of deadly creatures who would kill us in a death roll.
I decided at that point that Clapping Girl was my new go-to person if I needed to use another human to shield myself from danger. At least I had a plan before my early demise.
Fortunately, the alligators were impervious to clapping, although I was not. I began giving death stares to the girl in an effort to curtail the clapping, but she was such a moron she either didn’t notice or didn’t think I looked dangerous enough to do anything about it.
Perhaps she would have been more fearful had she known my contingency plan.
Just when my anxiety hit an all-time high, Kim started up the boat again and we took off.
We spent the rest of the trip riding around the Everglades, peeling out like Mario Andrete. This was the best part of the trip, as it was fun to go so fast, and the scenery was actually quite beautiful.
My husband enjoyed it as well, and although I can’t prove it, I’m pretty sure I saw him do a couple fist punches in the air while yelling “F*ck yeah!”
I’m not sure I will go on another alligator airboat tour anytime soon, but I have a whole new appreciation for marshmallows…and an insane craving for S’mores…