Before we left Louisiana, we had one last stop to make at Dr. Wagner’s Honey Island Swamp Tour . This was the activity I was most excited for, but as we pulled up at the dock, the rain started to pour. Not deterred by the weather, we pressed on and jumped into the boats, thankfully there was a covering to keep us dry. There’s something eerie about a swamp on the best of days, but a swamp in the rain is something else. We past floating huts used by fisherman and hunters, and kept our eyes peeled, trying to catch the first glimpse of what we’d all come to see.
Luckily for us we didn’t have to go far into the swamp until we found two alligators. And just like that the rain stopped. Amazingly, we’d bumped into the big man himself, the alpha male known as “Big Whoppa” (I didn’t name him ok), along with one of his girlfriends. Our guide explained that there’s only one male in an area, and this was the first sighting of Big Whoppa all week so we were all feeling pretty lucky. As the gators swam closer and our nervous laughter got a little louder, our guide went on to say normally Alligators are terrified of humans. Apparently people kayak in the swamp, and when they bump into a gator panic because the gator splashes. The splash is the gator swimming away. They only swim to the tour boats because there like floating ice cream vans to them. So what’s an alligators treat of preference? Hot dog and marshmallows. Right.
Feeling darn smug that we’d already seen two Alligators, we headed further into the Bayou. From Spanish Moss to tiny little Turtles, all the wildlife was explained to us. We even caught a rare glimpse of the Honey Island Monster, a local version of Big Foot. As we travelled further down the river I was so surprised by how close some people lived. A mixture of sinking shacks and luxury mansions, I’m not sure I’d be so brave as to have a Gator infested swamp at the bottom of my garden, no matter how scared of humans they are.
Once back on dry land, we made the long journey to Florida, just managing to miss Tropical Storm Hermine.