Our state park is located along the northern edge of the Barataria Preserve. This preserve consists of a number of bayous, rivers, swamps and lakes which make up a vast wetland that dominates the lower end of the Mississippi Delta. We have walked around the grounds of our state park but were anxious to take an airboat tour into the heart of the wetlands. Today, was the day we choose to do this. We selected this day because it was predicted to be the sunniest day of the two weeks that we have been here.
This morning we drove down to the small fishing village of Lafitte, Louisiana, which was about 30 minutes to our south. Once there, we boarded the airboat with 4 other people and off we went.
Our driver was very good and took us up and down channels and back water sloughs that were loaded with alligators. Neither Mary Margaret nor I had expected to see so many alligators. They seem so thick that at times we could not find a place that did not have an alligator. We also learned that between November and March the water is too cold for them to digest food so they do not eat during this period. However, since these last couple of weeks have been very warm and the water depth in the sloughs and canals is so shallow (typically less than a couple of feet), the water temperature must have been above 72 degrees. I say this because all of the alligators we saw look very, very hungry and when our driver did stop and feed one, the gator snapped up every morsel with relish.
We were out for a little less than 2 hours and took in such beautiful scenes that included Spanish moss-covered cypress trees, windy, narrow sloughs that carved little paths through the swamps, logs sitting in the water with large turtles sunning themselves, and waterfowl including a large blue heron. However, the center point of our tour was all of the alligators we got up close and personal with. I will let the photos below to let you see what we did.
To enlarge a photo to see it better, just click on it:
Tomorrow, we will finally take a day off and rest up. Then, on Friday, we will be bundling up LeuC and continue our journey towards Red Bay, Alabama, where the Tiffin factory is. Our last stop before we arrive in Red Bay will be the Clarkco State Park, in rural Mississippi.