Trek Diary: Day Ten (6th July)
Today we left New Orleans in search of more Louisiana adventures. On the agenda was a swamp tour and gator spotting! Whilst we waited for our tour to start, we sat on the porch and had a nosy around the gift shop at all the gator heads and “lucky” gator feet. There were also some screechy (although rather adorable) pre-schoolers hanging outside the front waiting for their own tour. Yup, thats right, send 25+ under five year olds on a BOAT to see ALLIGATORS that sounds like a real good idea! We decided we would never sign that permission slip if they were our children. Oh, America!
It was warm, the boat was swaying and many of us fell asleep…sometimes on each other. Only small gators were spotted to begin with and our guide coaxed them out of their hiding places with hot dogs on sticks and marshmallows. They were leaping out of the water and had such cute stumpy legs!
Just like we discovered in Tennessee, being on a boat is very scary because of all the bloody insects! The dragonflies didn’t bother me…just the horrible big, black wasp things. One flew past my head and i was convinced it had landed on my shoulder. Chang then turned to me and said, “Its under there” pointing to my top. Cue massive freak out. Just like the rafting, i was ready to take my chances in the water, this time with the gators. I only just about heard him say, “Only joking!”
The second part of our boat journey took us off the main part of the river and into the bayous. Here we found the biggest alligator in the area who was around 14ft long. After having all previous gators on the other side of the boat, i had this monster right in front of me! Got some good shots and the Koreans took the chance to have a closer look. Guide-man spotted them and promptly told them off. I dont know whether they misunderstood him or just full on ignored his warnings, but they continued to lean over the side and actually touched its head! I very nearly had a heart attack.
The weather had been gorgeous all week and for the first time since we arrived, we saw it rain. It absolutely chucked it down! Within a minute there was a good two inches on the road. I attempted to take a video of it but it ended up turning into an “introduction” video.
We were perfectly aware that we were going to be camping somewhere in Louisiana. What we were not told is that it would be right next to swampland. Our tent area was only 5 meters away from the edge of an algae covered pool, with an ominous sign saying “Do not enter – Gators”. Greeaaaaat. I was then informed that another Trek leader had been bitten by a rattlesnake a few weeks before and had to get air lifted out of the area. Trying to forget about the potential death traps around us, we made a dinner of tacos and spent the evening chatting among ourselves whilst Natalie drank far too much Parrot Bay rum. An armadillo was also spotted!
If we hadn’t of seen any wildlife, then we sure would have heard them. I know they say that the jungle is noisy at night…and well, i guess this was as jungle-like as it was going to get in the States. I think i got about 3 hours sleep. Every insect, every frog, every…EVERYTHING was either singing, screaming or chirping. For the “middle of nowhere”, it was the noisiest “nowhere” i had ever been. On top of this, one of our group was snoring like an absolute trooper all night long. I woke up from the racket and in my sleepy state, i actually thought that there was a wild boar outside. Apparently, the other girls also heard this but attributed it to an alligator and were terrified.
I was also woken up (yet again) by commotion within our camp ground. I found out the next day that it was actually Ryan, the other Trek leader, chasing a gang of raccoons.