Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life Is Good

de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours has been conducting tours into the largest rookery of wading birds in North America for over twenty years.

The birds are nesting at Lake Martin in record numbers this year and in spite of the oil spill media blitz, the tourists are coming too.

For now the birds that hatched in the rookery this spring are snow white, and leaving the nests, and learning to feed themselves on the floating cypress logs and mats of plants on the south side of Lake Martin as seen below.

It is hard for me to appreciate the pristine natural beauty as seen below and savor the abundance of wildlife we have at Lake Martin without flashing back to the images of the degrading environment and dead wildlife only a couple of hundred miles away in the hot zone surrounding the mouth of the Mississippi River near the oil, spilling into the Gulf of Mexico and polluting our coastal marshes.

The swamp where I do my tours is too far inland to ever be effected by the oil spill, and for now the marshland south of us is safe too, because the oil spill is moving east and away from us.


Life is good, and if it weren't for the media, we here in Lafayette would have no idea how heartbreaking it is for the wildlife and people who inhabit the mouth of the Mississippi River a couple of hundred miles away. My heart goes out to them who are suffering the effects of pollution, corporate lying, and government incompetence in relation to the BP oil spill there.

And though I do not know anyone personally who perished in the fire on board the Deepwater Horizon, my condolences are felt for the loved ones left behind who were missing the eleven men who were not here for this past weekends Father's Day observances.

It is too soon to tell where this thing is going, but I have to wonder if the life I experienced growing up in the coastal south Louisiana in the latter half of the twentieth century will soon only be a memory and stories that I share with my grandchildren rather than an actual heritage that we pass on to the next generations.

The boat landing at Cypremort Point, north of Marsh Island wildlife refuge.

I have many fond memories of launching our boat in the glorious colors
of dawn as seen below.

Then experiencing the sunrise over the point before we cross Vermilion Bay as seen below.

And the anticipation of what will be the results of the first cast.

Then as our fun begins to turn into a fruitful harvest...

We cannot resist also catching some of our great Blue Point crabs to round our our day on the water in the coastal marshland where the Gulf seafood is so abundant.

For now, life is good here in the coastal areas of south central and western Louisiana, where I grew up eating fresh caught shrimp, crab and fish.

We have had the best crawfish season in the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp in over a decade, thanks to an abundance of snow melt coming down the Mississippi River.

And the tourists who are steering clear of New Orleans and the oily beaches east of there are finding the food, music, and swamp tours here in the Lafayette area are an easy alternative to the contaminated hot zones of the oil spill disaster a couple of hundred miles away to the east.

The boat loads of children out of school looking for adventure and an education in our wetlands here have been heartwarming.

Almost every morning, a sunrise tour leaves out as the fog hangs low and then the magnificent clouds of summer form in the late morning and a few thunderstorms pop off to cool us in the afternoon.

For now, life is good in Cajun Country and the swamp tours, food and music is still here for us to share when you come to visit.