While in Florida earlier this month, it felt wonderful to be wearing shorts and a T-shirt without risking frost bite.

There are several things  common in Florida that are not common in Illinois.

Of course there’s the ocean,  palm trees and warm weather during the winter months.

And in all 67 counties of the Sunshine State – alligators!  How many? The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates the gator population at 1.3 million.

We were just outside of Tampa and decided to sign up for a 4 mile, self-guided kayak trip. We were told we could expect to see 20 – 50 alligators during the trip.  That’s more alligators than we’ve seen in our whole lives and we were concerned for our safety.

They assured us that the gators wouldn’t bother us and actually tend to be afraid of anything larger than them (like a kayak).

Well, we decided to summon up our courage and went for it.  While on the river, we saw a total of 27 gators! Only 1 of them was actually swimming in the river. When we got close to him, he disappeared under the water. The other 26 gators were on the river banks soaking up the sun. None of them moved a muscle while we were watching them. While I do enjoy being lazy at times – these gators are professionals!

The next time you see a movie with gators attacking boaters, you may want to take a breath and tell yourself it’s only a movie!