We booked a swamp tour. It was quite comical, figuring out which one, but it turned out for the best that we went with the best in the business.
Monday morning's plan was easy: meet up for breakfast at 7am at Eagle's hotel. She had breakfast tickets from her stay that she had never used, enough for each of us. It would be the last time eight of us would be together for this trip, so we made the most of it.
Eagle left at the end of it to head to visit her son and granddaughter in Texas. Di went off to see her cousin who lives locally and then head back down to the coast where she lives. Ninja went back to her hotel to rest and decompress, and so WSS, Script, Grace, CanDo and i headed to the Atchafalaya River and its surrounding bayous and swamps.
Our guide was a man of 60 who looked no more than 40, but had grown up on the bayous with his father, who runs the business with him. He not only knew his way, his birds, his spots to find alligators, and his special spots in the spring to see the nesting birds, he also spots and picks up every bit of trash out there, along with his buddies. They call themselves the keepers of the area, and they do a great job.
We paid him only $50 for a two hour tour. He loves his work so much, and has so much to explain and teach about the area, that he kept us out there for almost 4 hours for no extra charge. He showed us the usual great blue herons and great egrets and kingfishers, but also ospreys, coots, ibis, cormorants, and roseate spoonbills. There were a couple of others as well, some juvenile of one species i can't remember, and the gators.
Oh, the gators. When he showed us a gator slide up to a nest, a sharp-eyed CanDo spotted a 1-year-old baby gator in the water nearby. He netted it and brought it up for us to hold and touch. That's a good thing, too, because it teaches them the fear of men and boats, so they are more likely to survive.
He also showed us the horrors of the invasive plants that have been dumped out there. People who dump their aquariums in the local waterways have unleashed what may some day destroy the very places they claim to love.
By the time we got back to the dock, we were hot, tired, and grateful beyond measure for the glimpse into the interior he had shown us. The TV shows, which overhype it all for dramatic effect and are actually torturing the animals to make them behave the way they do have nothing on this man and his buddies, who truly know and love the land.
While we wanted to make it all last forever, Grace had a plane to catch, so we all went back to respective abodes with plans for four of us to catch up again for supper.
What a supper it was. Thai again, at a different restaurant with lots of vegan options and it was wonderful, although all this cooked food is already making itself felt in the mornings (my diet is 98% raw vegan and 2% coffee, which is part of the state religion). We talked and laughed and had a beautiful time, and saying good-bye was hard.
When WSS and i headed back to my house after dropping off Ninja and Script, it began to hit me that our time together doesn't last long enough.
WSS will be in the area until Wednesday, and she has her rental now so she can wander to her heart's content. She is like me, and sometimes enjoys just being off by herself, discovering new things.
Today i get to start playing catch up with the laundry, dishes, cooking, and etc., that all got put on hold for several days.
The aftermath is worth the wonderful memories and good times.
Armed Forces Day -- Mozambique
Join a Cabal of International Bankers Today Day -- internet generated, and only for people without a conscience
Kamarampaka Day -- Rwanda (Republic Day, marks the 1961 abolition of the monarchy)
National Comic Book Day -- internet generated, but go read one, they are fun
National Crabmeat Newberg Day
National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims -- US
National One-Hit Wonder Day -- US, remembering those who had only one hit on the rock charts
National Youth Day -- Nauru
Old Holy Rood Eve -- OS calendar Holy Cross Eve, the last day to pick blackberries (after this, the devil poisons them because when he fell from heaven, he landed in a blackberry bush)
St. Cadoc's Day (Patron of the deaf; against cramps, deafness, glandular disorders, scrofula)
St. Finbarr's Day (Patron of Barra, Scotland; Cork, Ireland)
Thimphu Tsechu -- Thimphu, Bhutan (Drukpa Buddhism festival; through Friday)
Toad Tempting Day -- Fairy Calendar
World Ataxia Awareness Day
Yom Kippur -- Judaism (Day of Atonement; begins at sunset)
Catherine Zeta-Jones, 1969
Will Smith, 1968
Scottie Pippen, 1965
Aida Turturro, 1962
Heather Locklear, 1961
Christopher Reeve, 1952
Mark Hamill, 1951
Cheryl Tiegs, 1947
Michael Douglas, 1944
Juliet Prowse, 1936
Glenn Gould, 1932
Barbara Walters, 1931
Shel Silverstein, 1930
Phil Rizzuto, 1918
Dmitri Shostakovich, 1906
William Faulkner, 1897
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, 1358 (Japanese Shogun)
Today in History:
St. Ferment is beheaded in Amiens, France, after voyaging there to preach the gospel, 303
The Battle of Stamford Bridge marks the end of the Anglo-Saxon era, 1066
Columbus begins his second voyage, with 17 ships, 1493
Vasco Nunez de Balboa becomes the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from the west coast of the Americas, 1513
The first printing press in the Americas begins operations, 1639
Old Style date; two very accurate clocks are set in motion at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, England, the start of Greenwich Mean Time, 1676
Ethan Allan, American Revolutionary War hero, is captured, 1775
Benedict Arnold joins the British, 1780
The first all-black university in the US, Howard University, is created by Congress, 1867
Yosemite National Park is established by Congress, 1890
Charles Follis becomes the first black to play professional American football, 1904
Birth of the remote control -- Leonardo Torres Quevedo successfully demonstrates the invention of the "Telekino" and guides a boat from the shore in the port of Bilbao, 1906
Jimmy Doolittle performs the first blind flight from Mitchel Field proving that full instrument flying from take off to landing is possible, 1929*
Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, is integrated by the use of United States Army troops, 1957
In a referendum, the people of Norway reject membership of the European Community, 1972
Belize joins the United Nations, 1981
The last of the Magdalene Asylums closes in Ireland, 1996
The Vitim event, a possible bolide (comet nucleus) impact in Siberia, Russia, 2002
China launches the spacecraft Shenzhou 7, 2008
*Personal family history: He was a great man, and taught my brothers to hunt dove.
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