Florida Safari - New Years' 2011

Looking out from a Merritt Island hammock near the bay behind Playa Linda. (above)

360 view of Withlacoochee Bay


Dates: Winter Break- New Years' 2011 for 8 days


Areas Explored: Florida Keys, Tampa Bay, Everglades, Central Florida, Space Coast, Florida Panhandle, New Orleans

Transportation: 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan

New Frontiers: Most of this trip was a rerun, but saw first crocs and drove all the way to Florida Bay

Wildlife: many alligators, 3 crocodiles, dozens of manatees, bald eagles, various herons, wood storks, stingrays, hammerhead sharks, corals, waterfowl, waders, cranes, ospreys, hawks, turkey vultures, armadillos, & one amazing Merritt Island bobcat


Cast: Scott, Jessica, & Andrew


Click here to see last year's New Years' Trip


Trip Notes: Day 1: Drove from Chicago, starting about 5 p.m., overnight making it to Macon in the morning for breakfast. Day 2: Continued driving into Florida, finally stopping to rest for the night in Kissimmee. Day 3: A decent sleep and then took the B-Line to Merritt Island, before heading south to Homestead through the Lake Okeechobee area. Day 4: Drove down and then back up the entire length of the Florida Keys, stopping for a canoe ride in Key Largo and a swim in Key West, before returning to Homestead. Day 5: Explored the Everglades all the way to Flamingo, and then headed across the Tamiami Trail through BIg Cypress, sleeping in Bradenton. Day 6: Spent the day hunting manatees in Tampa Bay and the springs of the Suwanee and then raced to Pensacola for New Years' Eve. Day 7: Drove through rain to New Orleans and then north to Southhaven, MS. Day 8: Drove from Southhaven to Chicago, stopping here and there along the way.

Video Collection

Manatees fill the river outside the Apollo Beach power plant right off
Tampa Bay during the winter in search of warm water. (right)

Rolls of Film: Click on image to see caption, full-size image, or slideshow.

Macon to Merritt Island birds, gators, and rocket ships



The Florida Keys paddling, swimming, and eating


The Everglades truck farms, sawgrass, and guano


The Manatee Coast scars, springs, and havens


Panhandle to Nawlins fireworks, culture, and etouffee


Photos copyright 2011 by S. Plencner or J. Bezold All other content copyright 2011 by S. Plencner