Saturday, October 06, 2007

Gulf Coast Travels: Adventure Swamp Tours

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure to be taken on a guided tour of the swamps along the Texas-Louisiana border. The tours cost is reasonable (about $25) and lasts about two hours. This pictorial post will take you through the tour in the order that I remember it.

Here is a flower that our guide showed us just before the tour began:

Here is an example of the kind of trees that grow in the brackish water (water that is part salt water and part fresh water). Their roots grow upward out of the water.

Our tour guide (I believe it was Eli Tate) explained that the Spanish moss that grows on the trees here is not really a moss at all, but is really part of the pineapple family.

On the tour you visit an old, abandoned shipyard used to build ships during World War II.

If you are lucky enough, you just might spot this eagle on your tour. Right before you get here, you will be taken through a maze of sunken ships that stick up out of the water.

This is a strip of land that had some unique cattle that are not easily tamed.

My photo does not show it well, but this area here was filled with lots of spiders with large webs in between the trees. (If you look just above the palm plant at the bottom of the photo, you can barely make out the spider.) I think the locals refer to the colorful spiders as "banana spiders" -- although I don't think that is what they really are.

And now the moment you take the tour for: our tour guide kept hitting the side of the boat and whistiling like a bird. Then he threw a white ball on a string out into the water to attract the alligators. (Cue the Jaws music....):

Nice alligator, nice alligator....

Finally, after showing an ancient native burial ground and attracting yet another alligator to the boat, he took us to an area with lots of lilies and lily pads.

Finally, I was surprised that mosquitos were not prevalent here. Apparently, they are in Louisiana, but not here along the Texas border. That's not to say that they are not prevalent elsewhere in southern Texas.

So if you are in the Orange, Texas area and want to learn more about the swamps, give Mr. Tate a call. He gives a very pleasant and informational tour of the swamps.

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