I enjoy exploring Florida’s wetlands by land and in my tiny boat. The thrill of searching for a spring while navigating up a crystal clear run or looking for an entrance to a hidden creek is an experience that will not be forgotten in a lifetime. The vast amount of wildlife to be seen and the sheer adventure of finding out what lies around the bend in a river or creek has kept my interest in the exploration of Florida for nearly three decades. As usual, my gear usually includes a medium format film camera for landscape photography and a digital camera for any creatures I may encounter along the way. Watertight containers to protect the gear are essential. I travel in my little 10 foot boat with as powerful an outboard motor as I dare mount on such a small vessel . It has a custom reinforced transom to accommodate the extra torque that the larger motor provides. An electric motor supplies power when the need arises for silent cruising or navigating through narrow passages. Oars, two marine batteries, an extra propeller, tools etc. are also onboard. A small boat allows me to explore areas inaccessible to larger craft. It can also prove to be very dangerous if one is unprepared . Wetlands are found throughout Florida.The plants and animals that live in these special places make up an elaborate, yet fragile,ecosystem in which things depend on one another for survival. Many birds, fish, mammals and reptiles use wetlands as breeding and nursery areas for their young. Wetlands also act as powerful sponges that can soak up huge amounts of excess water from rainfalls. This helps to prevent flooding. Wetlands help purify and filter water that passes through them. For these reasons, wetlands are very important to Florida’s water supply. Florida’s coastal areas are stabilized by wetlands,which serve as barriers and buffers against wind and waves. In these wetlands you’ll find mangroves, buttonwoods,sea grasses and other salt-tolerant trees and plants.