NANFA-- Tidbit from Florida

Charles Nunziata (
Fri, 6 Apr 2001 23:35:15 -0400

Fellow Collectors:

I'm reluctant to relate this story - those cynical among you may question
its veracity. For those that don't know me, I live in Seminole, Florida.

My better half and a couple visiting from Atlanta decided to walk a 2 mile
trail in our local county park last Saturday. An absolutely beautiful day
to be out. The park is bordered by a large lake, and within the park are
several smaller lakes. So as they headed to the path, I naturally headed to
the nearest lake.

Along the edge of the lake I encountered either basking on the bank, or
immediately next to the bank in a few inches of water first a 6-7ft.
Alligator, and 30 paces away what looked like a 10ft. behemoth and 50 feet
from that one another 7 footer. Offshore about 60 feet was a really big guy
circling and leaving a large wake.

After directly some tourists with cameras toward the sites and some locales
with small dogs away from them, I positioned myself more or less equally
between the 10+ Footer and one of the 7 footers. Staying no farther than 3
feet out, I worked the shore with a dip net and found the expected
assortment of Gambusia affinis, Heterandria formosus, crayfish, a few
longears and a shiner too small to ID. Satisfied with the catch, it was
returned, and back to shore I went. As I packed up some 10 feet from the
lake, what I think was the big guy making the large wake gently surfaced at
the spot I just vacated. I guess he was attracted by the commotion. The
collector almost became the collected !

As they say in the commercials - "But wait, there is more."

The male half of the visiting couple cut his walk short and met me as I
headed back to the car. As we walked past the boat ramp servicing the large
lake, we saw pulling in to the dock a small boat with 2 people and (I swear
on my Mom's old gray head) three Tigers - yup, Tigers. A juvenile about 100
lbs, and two cubs, perhaps 30-50 lbs each. It seems there is a private
compound on the lake where a family of ex-circus people keep a number of
large cats. I guess they were taking the cubs out for a ride on the lake.
As I said, it was a beautiful day to be out.

Finally at the car, the girls joined us and my wife asked me how it all
went, and I could not resist saying "Oh, nothing special."

A interesting half hour.

Charlie Nunziata

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