LET THE ADVENTURE UNFOLD: Phoenix Kids Travel to Study
Traveling to the southernmost tip of The Everglades brings us to Flamingo where we meet Ranger Chris for our next adventures. He shares information about the local inhabitants: manatees, ospreys, and crocodiles.
Even though we learn that manatees love to hang out in the marina basin before us, they are too shy for us today. Next, we gather under a giant osprey nest with its two juveniles who are cared for by their vocal parents. It’s easy to understand why Chris admires these strong, intelligent creatures who mate for life, return to the same nest year after year, and fish for their hungry, demanding offspring. They soar through the air, in search of fish below, then perch above us, noisily keeping sharp eyes on their chicks. Lastly, alligators and crocodiles capture our attention as Chris demonstrates their differences using replica skulls of each. We have declared the phrase ‘bird brain’ obsolete after seeing in the skulls where tiny reptilian brains reside…about the width of an adult forefinger and very shallow; good only for 3 things; mating, eating, moving.
Canoeing along Buttonwood Canal is the highlight of the day. Those who have experience kindly help our novices. We paddle along banks of entangled mangrove roots, on the lookout for lazy American crocodiles, alligators, turtles, and birds. We are lucky today to see a true diversity of wildlife including rare crocodiles, as well as a female manatee nursing her calf as she floats along.
Kyle considers himself lucky with Fiona and Karina D. who banishes him to the middle seat to take over the bow and stern, giving him a well-deserved rest. Eziah shows his power and skill in Leslie’s canoe, with Karina PZ navigating bravely at the bow. Liam and Max stretch their paddling muscles, almost to exhaustion as they fight against the wind. Alice takes command in the stern in her canoe, while Aiden paddles enthusiastically in the bow.
A group like ours is bound to have several memorable moments. Today it is Arlo’s and Charlie’s turn. With his paddle threatening to float away, Charlie reaches out to save his paddle, throwing his canoe off balance. In a flash, Arlo and Charlie are cooling off. Every moment of a Phoenix Travel-Study trip is a learning opportunity, so Kyle expertly instructs them in the art of restoring a capsized canoe to its upright position and safely climbing back in. The two boys are calm and confident and now have a new skill.
Back to the hostel we go to shower and enjoy a tasty meal prepared by Kyle. We will all sleep well tonight!
Leslie, Barbara, & Kyle
Head of School. Founder of School, & Alumni