190616 Swamps and Alligators

3 Jul

On 16 June 2019, my host in Louisiana said he was taking me on a “Swamp Tour”. I knew that it would include a boat ride looking for alligators and made sure that the batteries of all my three cameras were fully charged.

Cajun Pride Swamp Tours is just over an hours drive (90 km) from Baton Rouge, and their office is on the western coast of Lake Pontchartrain. (Cajuns are a cultural and ethnic group descended from French speaking colonists settled in south Louisiana. They have significantly influenced the language, music and cuisine of the region).

My host had a spare morning and insisted on personally taking me on the Swamp Tour. He got the tickets which I see from their website might have cost US$27 each (https://freetoursbyfoot.com/cajun-pride-swamp-tours/).

The tour is along a ‘Bayou’ which is a slow moving stream, usually forming marshy outlets of a lake or a river.

Steeped in American folk and pop music, I remembered Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou” from the mid Seventies.

I feel so bad I got a worried mind
I’m so lonesome all the time
Since I left my baby behind
On Blue Bayou

It was clearly understood that we were going alligator spotting not on a lazy river boat ride. Louisiana has an alligator population of about 2 million.

We got to see quite a few alligators. The captain of our boat threw marshmallows into the river, which the alligators reportedly mistake for eggs and devour. Raccoons were a happy bonus, being familiar with them from American comics and books.

The captain of our boat never stopped talking for even a minute. He even had a baby alligator with its snout taped for the passengers to handle and look at.

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