An Offshore Adventure to California’s Channel Islands

I am a rock, I am an island. Paul Simon could have been describing Anacapa, just off the California coast. We don’t think he was, but it is a practically perfect fit.
On clear days we have been able to spot the rocky outcrop poking out of the Pacific… CONTINUE READING >> 

I am a rock, I am an island.

Paul Simon could have been describing Anacapa, just off the California coast. We don’t think he was, but it is a practically perfect fit.

On clear days we have been able to spot the rocky outcrop poking out of the Pacific since we moved to our new home in Ventura.

The sight of the arch off in the distance beckoned with a call like a siren’s song, so a boat ride was inevitable.

With several trips a day leaving from the marina near our little beachside hideaway, we didn’t have far to go to begin our trek.

We chose a wildlife tour, hoping to catch a peek at some whales since it was the right time of year to see gray whales on their annual migration, and climbed aboard.

Between December and April these giant mammals pass through the channel between the islands and the California coast as they travel between their winter breeding grounds off of Baja and their summer feeding area near Alaska. Later in the year humpbacks and sometimes blue whales can be spotted among the islands.

While we were skunked in the whale sighting department, we did manage to engage in several other wildlife encounters.

As we cruised seaward, our first evidence of animal activity was of the human variety, an enormous oil drilling platform stood in our path. Not exactly what we hoped for, but interesting none the less.

These mammoth rigs can drill and service dozens of wells from each location. This helps to keep their disruption of the landscape down somewhat, because instead of hundreds of visible wells in the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel between the coast and the islands off of Southern California, there are only 32.

The ones we saw are all still active, but when they are no longer they can also be refurbished into an eco-friendly use as artificial reefs so at least there is ultimately some eco-friendly outcome.

After passing within a few hundred feet of the structure, we made way for the rocky outcrops of the southern tip of Anacapa, which is the smallest and closest of the eight islands known as the Channel Islands. The northernmost five of these have been set aside as Channel Islands National Park and the waters around them protected as the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Approaching the island, we skirted along the shore and our captain pointed out a cave that had once been a base for human habitation since it is the only regular source of fresh water. In times of no rain, which is most of the time, condensation within the cave will provide a small amount to drink.

It must have been enough to sustain life because a few hermits have been known to make a home on the desolate outcrop over the years, the most famous being Raymond “Frenchy” LeDreau, who survived for 28 years before finally returning to the mainland.

It was also along this shore that we saw the greatest concentration of birds.

In our travels we have found that birds love islands, and this was certainly no exception. Massive congregations of gulls had assembled, which were impressive, but we were much more intrigued by the pelicans that flew by us with their wingtips only inches above the surface of the sea.

We also spotted a nesting pair of cormorants precariously perched on the cliff face opposite the landing when we pulled up to the island’s only dock to pick up a group of hikers.

With our new shipmates safely aboard, we headed for the sea arch that is Anacapa’s most famous feature. This stark, volcanic rock formation standing out against the ocean was what lured us out to sea and the close up view was well worth the voyage.

Perhaps it was also what enticed the region’s native people to become some of North America’s very first seafarers some 13,000 years ago. At least as far as we know they were, since these islands are where the continent’s oldest evidence of marine travel has been found.

Beautiful as the formations may be, they are also dangerous to any sailor navigating these waters, so in 1932 a lighthouse was built on the point above the rocks to warn mariners to steer clear.

Fortunately, we safely rounded the island’s rocky tip and sailed along the back side, the shore away from the mainland, toward the passage between Anacapa and the island of Santa Cruz. Before we could shoot that gap we noticed several beaches where elephant seals had taken up residence.

They were believed to be extinct early in the last century, but the Channel Islands played a role in their remarkable comeback.  Now they are plentiful again, still we did think it strange to see them lounging with a group of their much smaller cousins, California Sea Lions. Then it occurred to us, who can resist a day at the beach?

When we turned back toward Ventura, we got our closest look at the largest of the islands, Santa Cruz, which serves as the main staging area for visitors to the national park. Even though it is the most developed part of the park, this area has extremely limited services.

There is no lodging or supplies available, only primitive campsites, which made us content with confining our visit to brushing passed the shoreline while remaining aboard a ship.

There is an option to stay on one of the islands that appeals to those of us who prefer more of life’s little comforts, but it is not part of the national park. As the only island with any population to speak of Santa Catalina, off the coast of Los Angeles, has become extremely popular for quick getaways from the city.

Fitting, since getaways seem to have been the mainstay of these islands from the time the first natives spotted them off in the distance, through pirates, hermits, and rum runners, up to today’s backpackers, hikers, boaters, and birders.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Empty Nest Egg

Where did you live when you were first starting out? I’ll bet it wasn’t quite the Taj Mahal.

Our first place was a one bedroom, former screened-in porch that had all the weather proofing of the average wiffle ball. It was a veritable private zoo of insect vermin — and we were glad to have it. We were proud and happy to be on our own.

Who are we to deny our offspring those same pleasures?CONTINUE READING >>

Nest For Sale!

It seems to me that a good number of folks who have boomerang “kids” may actually want them to return.

But are we really doing our offspring any favors by allowing an indefinite extension of childhood?

Let’s think about this. Where did you live when you were first starting out? I’ll bet it wasn’t quite the Taj Mahal.

Our first place was a one bedroom, former screened-in porch that had all the weather proofing of the average wiffle ball. It was a veritable private zoo of insect vermin — and we were glad to have it. We were proud and happy to be on our own.

Smacking my head on the five-foot-high kitchen ceiling/outside stairwell overhang a few hundred times made me really appreciate the move up to some better digs.

We rejoiced in every improvement of our living conditions — because we had worked for them. Moving into a real apartment, then a duplex until we finally saved up enough to make the down payment for an assumed loan on an about-to-be-repossessed starter home.

The place was a cat pee-saturated disaster but we worked like crazy on that funky little domicile until it was quite livable and we had real pride of ownership.

Who are we to deny our offspring those same pleasures?

There was also a huge financial upside to this process. During the eleven years we occupied our starter home, we established credit, refinanced it to a conventional loan at a much lower rate, built up thousands in equity and sold it at a substantial profit.

We had stashed away a tidy sum of money without even thinking about it!

None of this would have been possible had we spent our twenties and thirties living with mommy and daddy.

One of our readers, Ruthie, recently relayed her story of woe and resolve. She had a 34-year-old boomerang “kid” who was becoming more and more dependent as time went on. Her breaking point occurred when, in the middle of a sales meeting, she received a call from her son to inform her that there was no milk for his cereal!

The frightening thing was her response — she was about to drop everything to make a home delivery.

Instead, Ruthie made a decision then and there — she put her house on the market. She informed boomerang boy that she would be moving to a condo on the beach. He would not be joining her.

Here’s to Ruthie — an inspiration for empty nesters who just can’t say no to their offspring. Before that boomerang leaves a nasty lump on the old noggin… SELL THE NEST!

Beyond eliminating the boomerang effect, selling the nest could have additional advantages.

Many of us have been faithfully pouring money into our homes for decades and now the empty nest has become the nest egg. The time might be right to cash out and buy a smaller crib, or no crib at all. Pocket that dough and live a little. Travel, write The Great American Novel, go back to college, volunteer in your community — get out and grab that brass ring.

After decades of raising kids, the question shouldn’t be why, but why not. C’mon, no need to keep up that big old house when you could be in a sweet little condo on the beach like Ruthie. Spread those wings and fly south for the winter.

This way, when the chicks try to return to the nest to take up residence in the basement, they won’t know the owners. Wouldn’t it be a blast to see the surprise on their little faces? Almost like that Christmas morning long ago when they actually did get coal in their stockings… OK, maybe there wasn’t really any coal… but it’s MY memory and I’ll remember it how I want it to. 😉

Selling the nest could also mean that when the kids come for a visit to the new smaller digs, they’ll need a motel. Now we’re talking. How about that — actually spending time with them without the house getting ransacked or feeling like a live-in maid? Who knows — perhaps they’ll even begin to act like adults!

All of this said, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that the housing market, even though it is making a bit of a comeback, is still pretty rough in some places. Depending on where your house is, selling the nest may not be such a great option right now.

In our case, when we recently sold our house, we made a decent overall gain even after the recent losses. We had to take a good bit less than the asking price and I’m not going to lie — it was pretty scary — but we’re glad we did it and haven’t looked back since.

Even in bad markets there can be other options. Test the waters of life after kids using the nest as a home base. Maybe rent out the nest and use the income to chase the dream while someone else pays the mortgage, then sell when the market gets better. Get creative with your freedom.

Taking a plunge is not always easy, but as Veronica is so fond of saying when conquering her fears, “people do it everyday and don’t die.”

David, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: What was your first home like? Have you thought about selling your nest? Have you sold your nest want to share your experience? Do have suggestions for parents with boomerang “kids” wanting to change their situation?

We Packed as Many of London’s Landmarks as We Could into Two Days, How’d We Do?

From our base in Paddington, we set out to see as much as we possibly could of London in under 48 hours. We think we did pretty darn good, see if you agree. Did we miss anything?

CONTINUE READING >> 

From our base in Paddington, we began our assault by entering Hyde Park through the Marble Arch. The park is the largest of the Royal Parks that surround of Kensington and Buckingham Palaces, which were definitely two of the items on our checklist, but we found discovered several distractions along the way.

The first being Speakers’ Corner. This corner of the park, right by the arch, has been a haven for open-air speaking, debate, and discussion for several centuries.  In 1872 it was codified into law with the Parks Regulation Act that guaranteed the right to meet and speak freely in Hyde Park.

This freedom has brought out everyone from the famous, infamous, crazy, confused, intelligent, or just plain unintelligible, including some historic figures such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and George Orwell, to take part in protesting wars, supporting suffrage, or just advocating or opposing current conditions.

After receiving our own earfuls on several subjects from the current crop of orators, we moved on toward Kensington Gardens and the palace of the same name, but there was more to see before we could get there.

As we made our way, it was impossible not to notice the Albert Memorial and the giant golden Prince sitting gazing toward the concert venue that bears his name. We don’t know about him, but we were unable to look at the Royal Albert Hall without the realization that now we know how many holes it takes to fill it.

Popping out of the park’s woods, we came to Kensington Palace. Royals have been residing here since the 17th century, including kings and queens, and now it is the residence of Princes William and Harry, along with Kate Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) and various other Dukes, Duchesses, princes, and princesses.

Sounds crowded, but with multiple apartments divided in at least a dozen different wings and buildings they most likely have to try pretty hard to bump into each other.

By this time we had walked enough, so the time had come to board one of London’s iconic double-decker busses.

This is not the fastest way to get around the city, but it is the cheapest, and most fun.

Our goal was to catch all of the sights across town near the Tower of London, so we hopped off at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Long one of the most famous of landmarks in London, the dome is still among the highest in the world.  For a long time, from 1710 to 1967, it was even the tallest structure in the city.

Right across the Thames River, the Globe Theatre stands out starkly against a background of modern buildings. Actually, the theater we saw is more modern than many of those new arrivals because this is only a replica built in 1997. 

The original, or more accurately the two originals, disappeared over 350 years ago. The first stood from 1599 until it was destroyed by a fire in 1613.

The second, which is recreated in the current reproduction, was built the following year and was torn down by Puritans in 1644. It would seem as though Shakespeare’s popularity must have been on the wane at that point in time.

Well, even had the theater been left standing it might have burned down a few years later in the Great Fire of London in 1666. A monument to the fire was erected near the source of the blaze a few years later in 1671.

The huge Doric column provides some of the best views of the city anywhere, as long as one is willing to climb the 311 steps up the spiral staircase to reach the viewing platform near the top.

One building mostly spared by the fire is All Hallows-by-the-Tower, acclaimed as the oldest church in London. Established in 675, the church was built on the site of a Roman building. We know this because some remnants remain in the crypt.

Since it is right next to the Tower of London, it also became the temporary burial site for many of the beheading victims of the castle.

While the Tower does have many classic castle characteristics, it is really more of a complex of buildings than a single fortress.

Even though it was once officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and is still home to the crown jewels, its beginnings certainly do not bring pride to any British hearts.

It was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 after the Normans overtook England, ushering in a succession of French speaking English kings until Henry IV took the throne in 1399.

It also has a dark reputation as prison where many heads were separated from their bodies, perhaps most famously Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife who was beheaded in 1536. She is said to still be seen roaming around the Tower carrying her head under her arm.

All we know is that if we had seen her we would have high-tailed it across the Tower Bridge so fast that head she was toting would be spinning like a top!

And it wouldn’t be much of a run since the bridge is right there. Perhaps the most recognizable of London’s thirty-three spans across the Thames, it is often mistakenly called London Bridge. But since it is certainly not falling down, nor did it ever get moved to Arizona and rebuilt, we are certain that it is not.

Of course back in the days when the Tower was still being used to fend off invading hoards there was no bridge. It would have made it too easy to storm the castle, so the bridge is a relatively new one hundred and twenty four years old.

To take in the second round of the London landmarks on our list we took the tube to Westminster.

This allowed us to pop up from underground right in the political heart of Great Britain, directly beneath what just might be the most famous clock in the world, Big Ben.

Actually, the name was originally given to the largest of the bells in the tower, but has come to refer to the entire structure of Elizabeth Tower and is now most often associated with the giant clock. The rest of the building below houses the British Parliament but is technically still a royal residence, the Palace of Westminster.

The government has been convening here officially since 1295, so we have to think they have settled in, unlike the monarchs, who have moved on to Buckingham Palace.

On our way to see the queen, or at least her house, we passed by Westminster Abbey. Calling it all the abbey is really a misnomer. There are several buildings combined within the complex, one of which is the abbey, others include the church, sanctuary, chapter house, and cloister.

All in all these make for one of the most honored locations in London because this is the traditional site for both the coronation and burial of British monarchs. In fact, since 1066 every coronation has been here, along with sixteen royal weddings.

For nearly two hundred years those sovereigns have moved into Buckingham Palace after ascending to the throne. That meant we might have caught a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth, or one of her sons, Princes Andrew and Edward, who also live in the palace, but no such luck for us.

Guess we’d have to satisfy ourselves with a bit of a different variety of royalty, the Beatles. We hopped on another bus to Abbey Road, where an old townhouse was transformed into the Mecca of modern music when four lads from Liverpool recorded for eight years in it.

The culmination was the album they named after the street. From then on the studio itself became known as Abbey Road. It was a little underwhelming to visit, we were only able to peer through the gates, still we couldn’t help but feel privileged by our proximity to the spot where some of the greatest music ever recorded was captured.

Definitely worth including in our landmark itinerary.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Beaches, Elephants and Tea – What’s not to Like?! Here’s What You Need to Know About Sri Lanka

A small island nation resting off the coast of India, Sri Lanka has a lot going for it – Here’s what you should see and do… CONTINUE READING >> 

If you’re looking for an exotic and eclectic travel destination, then you could do a lot worse than Sri Lanka. This small island nation has been overlooked for decades in favour of more well-known and well-travelled Asian countries (we’re looking at you India and Thailand) and that’s doing it something of a disservice – because whatever it’s more popular cousins can do – Sri Lanka can do it just as good.

In spite of it now being the 21st century and most destinations of a similar calibre have been frequented by travellers and tourists numerous times, for some reason, Sri Lanka seems to be an island you pass over when journeying somewhere else. Well, this just won’t do, so our friends Agness and Cez over at eTramping have put together what you can expect from this diverse cultural and environmental smorgasbord.

A Brief History and Location

Sri Lanka is known as “the teardrop of India,” so called because of its distinctive shape, off the South East coast of its larger and better-known cousin. Settlements here can be traced back an astonishing 125,000 years, which might go some way in explaining the diversity you’ll find on these shores.

Its history has not always been plain sailing though, and a 30-year civil war threatened to tarnish the country for life until it finally came to an end as late as 2009.

British colonialism originally named the country Ceylon, but it’s now clocking up 70 years of independence and flourishing in the wake of a turbulent past.

Famous for…?

As the title suggests, what more could you want apart from beaches, elephants and tea? Sri Lanka is more than famous for all three and a lot more besides. From wildlife to ancient ruins, adventure holidays or scenic, relaxing train journeys – the choice is yours. For such a relatively small island, Sri Lanka caters for every taste and it’s also extremely friendly if you’re on a budget too. So, have your Sri Lanka visa completed before your holiday and get yourself there. But, what should you see and do?

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Let’s start with arguably the reason you came here in the first place, to get up close to these gentle giants; except they’re not so giant just yet! The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is exactly that, a shelter and rescue centre for ickle baby Heffalumps! Of course, they grow to be big ones too and the centre has a wonderful range of rescued and rehabilitated animals.

Volunteering at elephant sanctuaries is very popular in the country too – but don’t even think about riding them. As we always say – make sure whatever animal experience you’re having is 100% legit. No riding elephants and no lying on drugged up tigers!

Sigiriya 

Located near the cultural hub of Dambulla in the very heart of the country you’ll discover the ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya – which used to be the capital of the country many years ago. Known locally as the eighth wonder of the world, this huge 200-metre-high monolith was formed from an extinct volcano’s magma and contains the ruins of the fortress of King Kassapa. Today you’ll find frescos and graffiti here dating back to the 5th century, as well as a dizzying climb to the top that isn’t for the faint of heart.

Play Cricket

While volleyball is officially the country’s national sport, cricket is, in fact, it’s most popular. They’re pretty good at it too, winning the World Cup in 1996 and runners-up in 2007 and 2011. Not bad at all considering their size! And there’s nothing locals like doing more than getting involved in a game, so even if you hate watching it – it’s a lot of fun to play on a pristine, sandy beach as the sun goes down!

Tuck In

Our mouths are watering at the very prospect of Sri Lankan food – and you’d be mad not to dive right on into this eclectic and delicious cuisine. From high end eats to incredible street food, this country has got something for every palate. It can be as spicy as you like while also being light and throws in a real hotchpotch of flavours and influences. Expect delicious curry and rice dishes for the most part, with extensive vegan and seafood options too.

Adam’s Peak

A conical mountain stretching up 2,243 metres is one of the most famous and popular attractions in the country, the summit of which is believed to be the Buddha’s own footprint. As you might expect it’s a site of pilgrimage for many believers and non-believers alike, and it affords some breathtaking views from its peak if you have the energy to attempt it.

Tea Plantations

Tea is synonymous with Sri Lanka and Kandy is the region known as the birthplace of Ceylon and a good place to start if you want to see colourful tea pickers almost lost in a carpet of green leaves across the mountainsides. There are plenty of plantations to try your hand at picking your own brew, but The Ceylon Tea Museum will get you on your way.

Beach Life

With 1,340 kilometres (833 miles) of coastline in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has got some of the best beaches on the planet. Don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself in places like Unawatuna Bentota and Hikkaduwa – all with the kind of sand you see on postcards trying to make you jealous you’re not there.

You can be as energetic or as relaxed as you like here, with locations that cater to party people and world-class surfing, to those looking to read a good book in a quiet beachfront fishing village. And as well as the diverse wildlife inland, whale and dolphin watching is also extremely popular if you haven’t already had your bountiful fill of the natural world on the island.

More! More! More!

We haven’t even begun to describe what else is on offer here, including temple caves, golden Buddhas, stunning national parks to rub shoulders with 35 leopards, romantic and exotic train journeys and not to mention some of the friendliest people you’re ever likely to meet on your travels. There isn’t the time or the space to do it justice, so we’re going to have a cup of tea instead!

Where would you like to visit in Sri Lanka? Let us know your thoughts!

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.

Meet Bigfoot’s Florida Cousin!

Skunk Apes are omnivores, with the ability to climb and make beds out of leafy branches, there are an estimated 7 – 9 of them in the Everglades, they like alligator caves, smell like rotten eggs, and they love lima beans. Skunk Apes lead a nomadic, hunter/gatherer existence, have a good memory and exceptional hearing.We had to find one for ourselves, so we headed deep into the Florida Everglades… CONTINUE READING >>

Skunk Ape Research Headquarters

Part of the beauty of being a GypsyNester is the opportunity to explore the unknown.

We took that up a notch when we drove deep into the Everglades on the Tamiami Trail (the section of U.S. Highway 41 named as a clever contraction of Tampa & Miami) and came upon the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters.

Skunk Ape

This was not the kind of place that we could possibly drive on by, we had to go inside and investigate.

What we discovered was the ultimate source for all things Skunk Ape, the Florida cousin in the Bigfoot/ Sasquatch/
Yeti family.

After viewing the photos, news articles and plaster casts of footprints we were hungry for more information so we asked to see the proprietor and renown Skunk Ape expert and author of The Everglades Skunk Ape Research Field Guide, David Shealy.

Skunk Ape Footprint

Mr. Shealy was happy to fill us in on the history and habits of the elusive hominids, both through his personal experiences and documentation he has received through others.

He really captured our interest when he relayed his tips for spotting one. We had to try!

The best news was that the headquarters also serves as the office for a campground, so we forked over the fee to stay a few days. We were determined to get an up close and personal, real live Skunk Ape encounter for ourselves.

Everglades Skunk Ape Research Field Guide

The first step was to purchase an Everglades Skunk Ape Research Field Guide (all proceeds benefit Skunk Ape research) which contains a cornucopia of information on these rare creatures.

We poured over the guide, taking extensive notes. We didn’t want to head out deep into the Everglades unprepared.

In the guide we learned that Skunk Apes are omnivores, with the ability to climb and make beds out of leafy branches, there are an estimated 7 – 9 of them in the Everglades, they like alligator caves, smell like rotten eggs, and they love lima beans. Skunk Apes lead a nomadic, hunter/gatherer existence, have a good memory and exceptional hearing.

But the main purpose of the field guide is to assist in, and facilitate the sighting of Skunk Apes. It recommends that preparations should be made before heading out into the glades on a search.

SKUNK APE EXPEDITION CHECKLIST:
Map of area
Ladder Stand
Lima Beans (1 lb. dry)
Leaf Rake
Rope (30′)
Plaster (5 lb. bag)
Bucket (5 gal. w/handle)
Binoculars
Pocket Knife

Florida Everglades, Skunk Ape Territory

We were not particularly interested in making any plaster casts of footprints, so we omitted the bucket and bag and chose to bring a camera instead.

We were pretty amped up on the prospect of getting the world’s first clear, in focus photographs of a bigfoot type creature. With our zoom lens.

Mr. Shealy had explained to us how Skunk Apes can be spotted by leaving out bait to attract them, even telling us where he had left some recently, but the guide book went into further detail.

Hunting Skunk Ape on bikes!

Baits include: whole kernel corn, rice, dog food, deer liver (which “Should be kept frozen until your site is chosen.” and “Should only be used immediately following an actual sighting.”) but “Unmistakably the best baits available are dry beans.

Black eyed peas, pinto and kidney beans all work well, however large lima beans are the recommended bait and should be considered your first choice.”

Hunting for Skunk Ape in the Everglades

Wet beans are “proven to be more effective” because “the beans sour, giving off an odor which is appealing to Skunk Apes,” but go bad after a few days. Never use bacon or pork as that will attract buzzards.

The manual goes on to advise that in order to protect the apes: “If your attempts at baiting are successful, wait at least five days before telling anyone.

This will allow enough time for the Skunk Ape to leave the area.” Because, “Unfortunately, there are people who would like nothing better than to shoot one of these magnificent creatures.”

The Field Guide also advises that “The use of tranquilizer guns is not recommended and is subject to regulations.” and “Leg traps are strictly forbidden.” Also, “Any evidence collected should be considered valuable and reported to the local authorities, immediately.”

Sunset in the Everglades

Armed with this information, and one last extremely valuable piece of advice, “Never enter an alligator cave in search of Skunk Apes,” we felt like we were ready to embark on our quest.

It was dry season so we headed into the tall grass that is usually swamp. At this time of year it was soggy, but definitely passable.

Our first stop was the bait that Shealy had left out for the apes.

Panther Crossing

When we came upon the pile of beans we didn’t see any signs of Skunk Ape activity.

We did find paw prints, large paw prints, and followed them to the bones of a fairly large animal that looked to have been devoured.

We could only guess that a Florida Panther had been around. We were in no mood to fend off any hungry predators so our survival instinct told us to move on.

David scouting for Skunk Apes

Next we set out across several hundred yards of mushy grassland to one of the ladder stands that the headquarters has erected.

Climbing up to the platform allowed us a much better view of the surrounding area. We scanned the horizon with our binoculars, but once again we saw no sign of a Skunk Ape.

We were treated to one of the most spectacular sunsets we’d ever seen, so we felt our first evening’s efforts were not in vain.

The next day we discussed other possible sighting sites and strategies with Mr. Shealy and he pointed us to an area across the highway a mile or two into the glades.

Since the trip would cover several miles total we decided to head out on our bicycles, at least as far as we could. After a few miles the trail became too muddy for our bikes and we continued on foot.

Hunting for Skunk Ape in the Florida Everglades

We wandered deep into the Everglades, miles from any signs of civilization, and found some matted grass amongst the underbrush in a few places.

But not being experts, we were unable to ascertain whether these were Skunk Ape bedding sites or the resting place of some other animal.

After a full day of investigation our water supply was running low and we had many miles to go to get back to The Skunk Ape Research Headquarters and our base camp.

Tails tucked between our legs, we hiked and biked our way back through the mushy and magnificent scenery. A beautiful walk in the wilderness.

We had been skunked in our efforts to sight a Skunk Ape… this time.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com