Thanks to my friend, W, we arranged a tour of the Louisiana swamp with Airboat Adventures, located south of New Orleans.
This was a two hour tour in this airboat.
First we were shown the difference between marsh and swamp. This is marsh or boggy land. What appears to be land is floating on top of the water so if you jump up and down on it, a large area around your feet will go up and down with you.
Swamp is swallow water separated by land. Note the cypress knees, woody projections that extend above the waterline and serve to anchor the cypress tree in the muddy soil and may have some role in providing oxygen to the tree.
We saw lots of alligators. This one was about 6 feet long.
Here Captain Kevin is getting close and personal with the gators. Note the marshmallow in the water by the boat. This is what the airboat captains use to get the alligators to swim to the boat. Who knew alligators liked marshmallows?
This one is a bit longer, 7 or 8 feet. Most we saw were in the 4-6 feet range. Captain Kevin told us a lot about the state's control of the alligator population, with some hunting but also the careful collection of the eggs and raising of the baby alligators.
Here is a ribbon snake, very thin and 15 inches or so long. You may be able to see it better if you click on the picture.
That is about the only wildlife we saw, alligators and ribbon snakes, which was the only disappointment to the tour. The airboat was quite loud so it certainly can't sneak up on anything. But it was a lovely day and zipping around through the water was a lot of fun.
Thanks, W. PRM