Until Mazzotti has room to turn the skiff around, he backs out of Davis Creek. Most people think of crocodiles as they do sharks, rock-hard muscle welded to bone, beasts hard-wired to eat and perform a few other mindless tasks. I ask, "Is working with American crocodiles dangerous?" Mazzotti sweeps a hand back toward the mangroves and says, "I'm more worried about crossing U.S. 1 on a Friday night than I am about wading in the middle of the Everglades at midnight. The hardest thing you put up with here are mosquitoes, and they never color my memories."
As we return to Key Largo, phosphorescent worms rise from the sediments of Florida Bay. Agitated by the boat, a wake of glowing diatoms fans out across the Bay, a mirror of the Milky Way that runs across a cloudless, starry sky from Maine to Cuba.