Had what is probably the second peak experience of the trip this afternoon. The first was Carlsbad Caverns, which I never finished posting pictures of even on FB. Will post today’s pictures here with a few comments in between, but mostly—just look at the pictures.
First, to give credit where credit is due, the tour company is Swamp Adventures. If you ever make it to New Orleans, I totally recommend them. They offer 10-person airboat tours and 6-person tours; I took the latter, and am glad I did. There were only 4 of us on the boat, and because of that, and the rain last night, the guide. . .
(I think his name is Jerry, but I’m not sure. Bad at names, you know. But I’ll call him Jerry anyway. He has the most lovely Cajun accent. I wanted to go have a beer with him afterwards, but didn’t quite have the nerve to propose it.)
Anyway, Jerry decided to take us off into little a little “trail” he said he’d only done maybe 5 times since October. For whatever reason, the territory he took us into was just beautiful—close to as surreal as Carlsbad.
First a few pics of the avenues. . .
Those were a bit tricky to get, as the boat was going quite fast down those avenues, and I had to hold my hat on. But he slowed way down to make the turns, and that gave me the chance to snap a few.
Here are some deeper in to his small trails:
Those give a flavor of the beauty of the place, but as with Carlsbad Caverns, you really have to experience it for real.
Jerry asked us at the beginning what we wanted to see, and of course we all said “alligators”. Up to that point, I had only seen two—one in Texas, and one at Palmetto. Now I’ve seen way more—I lost count after about 6. The smaller ones are quite pretty. We saw a lot of them from a couple of feet long to maybe four feet long, but they were quick and I didn’t get many pictures of them. This first one you’ll have to look hard to spot. Look for the head near the center of the photo.
Here are a couple of one a bit easier to see.
Jerry said the open-mouth pose is for expelling gasses–alligator burping, I guess.
The bigger ones get more lethargic and less pretty, but are of course more exciting to see.
Those last two Jerry obviously knows well—he knew right where to go to find them. A male and a female. He tossed the female some chunks of fish–of which she deigned to eat one, the one that literally hit her on the snout.
He also knows this next one well—he called her Madame Robicheaux, and he took us right to her at the beginning of the tour. I think he’d spotted her earlier in the day.
Soon after turning into the smaller “trail”, he stopped and hooted a bit, explaining he was calling his “buddy”, an owl he has known since it was a baby. As proof, he showed us a picture of a baby owl. And by darn, the owl came.
There’s no doubt it was responding to Jerry’s calls. It watched us for several minutes, from more than one tree, and it followed us quite a ways after we resumed the tour. Jerry has named it, but of course I forgot the name. He says it’s a barred owl—I wouldn’t know, but would take his word for it.
If I had the money, I’d go do this a couple more times—my only complaint about the experience was that it was too short, I want more.