Thursday, December 2, 2010

Exploring A Lagoon

For nine years, we've only looked at this fresh water lagoon from our balcony over Fort Lauderdale's Birch Park. This Thanksgiving, we decided to explore it up close in a bright yellow canoe.
After negotiating our rented watercraft away from the protective guard-duck who seemed miffed at not being fed, we set off into this mysterious and primitive waterscape. There were large drifts of water lilies, at times thick enough to nearly stop the boat. Strange and beautiful plants along the banks had us zig-zagging back and forth for close-up inspections.
Punctuating the lush hammock surrrounding the lagoond is one last stand of silvery dead trees, the remains of invasive, non-native Australian pines that the park service has been eradicating over the past few years.

Lots of pictures after the jump, and as always, click to embiggen for full screen pleasure.

An odd duck guards the rental canoes at the lagoon entrance

Water lilies cover less surface here at south end, but get very thick further north

The remains of an old trestle crosses this fresh water lagoon at its midpoint. Many years ago, it supported a miniature train carrying tourists. The park is seeking funds to turn this into part of the maze of footpaths that weave through the tangle. Birch Park is the last unspoiled and natural habitat to be found in Fort Lauderdale, and the park ranger assured us that all the plants in the lagoon are native.

Looking north where the lagoon narrows before getting extra thick with lily pads

Not many of these white lilies on the water surface

At times the lily pads were so dense, it was hard to paddle, recalling that scene in The African Queen...

...but the fearless navigator navigated anyway...

...even though the picture-taker sometimes didn't picture-take. 

Birch Park lagoon has a lush and unusual landscape...

...full of fascinating flora with primitive forms and moments of startling colors.

These seemed to turn their faces to follow us. We assured them we'd be back soon.


  1. Don't you just LOVE wild Florida? I think most people don't realize this beauty is available just past civilization.

    No gators or snakes?

  2. Dear Birdie, although I once saw a large black snake cross the road in this park, we encountered no gators or snakes in the lagoon. The ranger says there are no gators in it.

    Next time you are in town, we should do this.

  3. Nice video and pictures. The lagoon is cool.

    Clermont, FL