It was not a very satisfying look at the first gator. It only had its head above water. After about three minutes, it removed even that small bit of itself, slowing sinking into the murky water. The three of us spent the rest of the morning driving around, certain we'd see another gator—perhaps one out on a bank soaking in the sun on this very cool Florida morning. But we were denied.
So we went to the beach.
Two days later Phoebe and I were headed back to the beach when we saw a turn off for Eco Pond Road. I'd remembered seeing and photographing a massive alligator on that road two years before, so we turned off for a side gator hunt. Just two miles later, I spotted our gator, lounging in the back of a lagoon, covered in duckweed. I told Phoebe to get out and stand on the bank in front of the gator (which was at least 60 feet away) so I could take her photo with her first look at a complete American alligator.
After manatees, seeing an alligator was next on Phoebe's most-wanted list. The fact that we also added bobcat and armadillo was icing on the already rich and delicious cake.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my good friends at The Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival for inviting Phoebe and me down to Titusville, and for making us feel so welcome. It was an unforgettable experience for us and it reminded me how completely lucky I am to be a Dad.