Thursday, August 12, 2010

Louisiana - The forgotten blog: Bounding on the Bayou

Well now how did that happen? I left out a whole adventure from the blog – and one of the coolest things we got to do – our Louisiana swamp tour.

Thirty minutes south of New Orleans and on our way to Florida several different operators run tours of Cajun country. I can’t think of why we chose Cajun Encounters other than their pamphlet looked good – and we chose well.

In the heavy southern air we waited with around 50 other people in the small (and airconditioned) gift and snack shop. When our local guides arrived we were split into two groups and boarded our river boats.

The journey began in a wide, open river. Here we saw a variety of birds and turtles and unique plant life.

The river winds and gets narrower - you are now entering alligator territory - Big Al’s to be precise.

Our guide tells us that Big Al is rarely seen by groups but his girlfriends frequently stop by. We were lucky as it didn’t take long for one of the giant females to appear.

We soon found out that gators like marshmallows and wiener hotdogs and they are a great way to get the animals to hang around so you can get a good look at them.

A short detour off the main river and we found ourselves in swamp land – green, lush and full of life, Spanish Moss drips off every tree.

Our guide joked that we could get out for a walk here if we wanted, but had to follow it with a disclaimer that just a few weeks ago an Australian girl and a Swiss guy took him up on the offer and were soon up to their waists in swamp water.

Back on the river we sailed passed a community of waterside properties.

Thankfully most of these houses escaped sever damage during Hurricane Katrina however one family wasn’t so lucky. The wind and flood waters carried their home up river and there it remains on top of a riverbank.

A few more gators later and we were back at the visitors centre. Next time you're in Louisiana you have to take a swamp cruise.

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