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Friday, February 06, 2009

Swamp Tour

Several folks from the park had scheduled a Swamp Tour on Lake Martin for this morning. Wednesday during happy hour, they had invited us to join them, so we did. It was wonderful! The weather cooperated so well - sunny skies and high 60s at least.

Our tour guide, Bryan, was very personable and so knowledgeable of the area. He is a native son and has the accent to prove it.

I was very surprised by the swamp as I expected it to be dark and overgrown with little light shining through. How wrong I was. The cypress trees were beautiful with Spanish Moss hanging from the limbs. There is much green growth throughout the swamp and the water was so clear you could see the bottom. Totally different from anything I expected.

We saw the oldest tree in the swamp - 500 years!

One of the draws of this swamp is the nesting areas of Great Blue Heron and White Egrets. They come here to mate and lay their eggs and wait for them to hatch. It was hard to see the heron because they blend so well in the trees. But, the egrets looked like cotton in the midst of all the trees. Bryan was great about getting us as close as possible and we did have lots of photo ops, but I never got a really good picture of any of the birds in flight. It was fabulous sitting in the water just being quiet while watching the birds fly about.

Can you find the Great Blue Heron?

Some egrets

There are alligators in the swamp as well. We were able to get up close and personal to two of them. The first was an older gator and he was about 8 feet long. The second was a baby and "only" about 5 feet long. We were so close to them you could almost reach out and touch them. Not that any of us were up for that! ;)

Big alligator
Baby alligator
Other wildife on the lake/swamp are ducks, lots of turtles, ibis and fish, of course. There were several fishermen out on the lake. And during the summer folks swim and waterski here. Knowing there are alligators in the water, you wouldn't find me waterskiing or swimming! However, Bryan said there has never been an alligator attack on a person at this lake. He did say, though, the duck hunters don't bring their dogs to the lake to retrieve the ducks that are shot. Apparently, the alligators really like dogs!

Turtles sunning themselves
We had a great time in the swamp and on the lake. It was so peaceful and serene. I could have sat out there all day.

This evening we went to dinner at a local place called Cajun Claws. Betty, owner of the RV park, told us we had to go there for boiled crawfish. So, nine of us went there. It's a small place, holds just 65 people and is only open Friday and Saturday evenings. In order to get in, you have to go over to the restaurant about 3pm and put your name on their list - and they don't open until 5pm!! Folks come there every week for their crawfish.

We got seated and four of us ordered the boiled crawfish. I was going to, but it only comes in 3.5 or 5 pound orders!! Well, I can't eat that much and I didn't even know if I liked it. Randy didn't want any, so I ended up ordering grilled shrimp, which was delicious. The folks who got the crawfish said they were very good, too. It's funny the crawfish really do look like minature lobsters. And just like lobsters, you only eat the meat out of the tail. So, it's a lot of work for very little meat. For us Marylanders, it was like picking crabs - but you get a LOT more meat out of a crab than you do a crawfish!

It was a fun day. We've met new folks and sampled the culture. Tomorrow we are going to breakfast with these same folks to a place called Cafe Des Amis. It opens at 7:30, and we have to leave at 6:30 to get there and get a seat! Apparently, it gets crowded very quickly. There is music and dancing - even at breakfast. This should be interesting. More pictures, I'm sure!

After breakfast we'll get home and start breaking camp. It's time for us to move on and travel to Rockport, TX. That's a two day trip for us. We'll be spending the night on the road somewhere along the way.

As always you can find more pictures on our Webshots site. Just click on "Guiler Pictures" at the right. Until the next time . . .


  1. mary slater8:24 AM

    do you remember when we swam in the lake with alligators in Sun City, Fla.? well, I saw the alligators and you just swam for your life!

  2. Retirement life is like one giant field trip.

    I totally would have had the same thoughts going into a swamp. I don't know if I would have been pleased or disappointed to be wrong :)

  3. Lindsay6:13 PM

    You didn't get a picture of the potties on tour... haha!