What do you do when visiting New Orleans? Go gator spotting, of course!
Our week’s weather forecast was tornado warnings, thunderstorms and 90-100% humidity, although the temperature for spring was a comfortable 70-75F (20-25C). Nice!
New Orleans swamp
Our destination is the closest natural swamp to New Orleans’ CBD,.
We leisurely cruised a cypress swamp in the State Park of Bayou Segnette, 15 minutes from the French Quarter.
Choosing a relatively slow, covered boat, rather than an ear-deafening, ‘cajun air conditioned’ airboat, we set off on our gator hunt. We weren’t disappointed.
Scott, our experienced tour guide and boat captain, had his favourite regulars.
Gators are territorial and often found in a small radius, especially the males who can get up to 18-19 feet (about 6m).
The girls are quite a bit smaller as they stop growing at around 8 feet. They are most active between January and May, when they are mating and laying eggs.
We soon spotted big boy Chubbs under the shadows of a tree, the largest of Scott’s favorites. And he was hungry and easily tempted out of his resting spot to come towards the boat. The bait? A small white marshmallow.
The Big Guy
Yep, the big guy has a sweet tooth, as we discovered all the gators here did. They resemble turtle eggs, hence the attraction.
Sounds a bit weak to me. Never seen a floating, soft, squidgy turtle egg before. But these gators certainly loved them, and seemed to really enjoy chomping them!
Miss Vicky was a regular marshmallow fan and she was easily lured right up to the side of the boat. She even allowed Scott to rub her chin and lift her head right out of the water!
An finally there was Bob, the jumper. He may have been one of the smallest we saw that day, but he loved his marshmallows so much, he would launch out of the water to get one!
Not quite as stunning as a fat 6m saltwater croc doing the same thing for a lump of chicken or prime beef, but a pretty impressive feat anyway!
Irene Isaacson travelled at her own expense.
For more, see Ultimate Swamp Adventures.