Monday, September 6, 2010

Natural Air Conditioning!

The last two weeks have been so sweet because the morning temps started out at about 70 degrees every day. And yesterday it must have been in the upper sixties whan I walked out of my house at 6:30 AM to start my sunrise tour.

The couple I took out on the sunrise tour was from Portland Oregon who had heard about me from the New York Times article that featured de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours in the September 1st edition last week.

And as much as it was so nice to have only two people on a private tour, my boat has been mostly full for every tour, and this past weekend with the Labor Day holiday crowds, I turned away as many people, as I took out because people were calling last minute and my boat was full on every tour.

It was, with all the people, and the gator incident, quite an exciting weekend.

As owner and operator of de la Houssaye's Swamp Tours at Lake Martin, I am constantly warning people walking around the boat landing, with dogs running free, to be careful of the alligators.

I did the sunrise tour on Sunday morning with the couple from Portland, Oregon.

I had just finished my tour, my guests had pulled out of the boat landing, and I was telling a lady standing in the landing that she needed to be careful of her Yorkie around the gators.

As I was speaking of how we had 5 dogs we knew of last year that were eaten by gators in the boat landing, I look over and there is a 8-10 footer, zeroed-in on my puppy. At a distance of about 3 foot I knew the gator was in range and about to stike and instinctively I began to lunge in that direction. About halfway there, the gator struck and then a second later, I was on top of him. At that point he was more worried about me on him, than eating the puppy and let it go.

In the heat of the moment, I did not think, I acted, and had I not seen the gator, and moved when I did, there would have been nothing I could have done to save the puppy, because once a gator has someting in its jaws rarely does its prey survive.

I this case, in spite of having a good bite on the pups hind-end, I scared the gator enough, to cause him to lose hold, and do a 180 to get away from me and head back into the water, and I was then able to scoop the pup up and bring it to the boat trailer and make these photos.

This alligator was very bold in that it approached this puppy with about 5 people standing around talking, fortunately, I was only about 10 foot away from the incident when the gator struck. Typically, alligators are very shy around people because we eat them, they do not eat us, and we are their only natural enemy so they have nothing to fear except man.

The real root of the problem here is an over-zealous swamp tour guide has been feeding the alligators at Lake Martin now for about 10 years. And I will quote him here: "I fed every alligator, all the way around the lake."

Unfortunately, a fed gator is only relocated to the processing plant after it has been killed.

In spite of the dangers of gators, we regularly swim and kayak at Lake Martin, because typically they are very shy around humans.

Should you come to Lake Martin for a de la Housaye's Swamp Tour you are much safer here in my boat, than you are on the Interstate 10 in your car, but please be aware of your pets around any waterway in Louisiana, we have hungry gators and you never know if someone has fed it or not.

If you are interested in doing a tour, you can make reservations @ 337 298 2630