Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Airboat Bayou Tour or OMG Alligators!

Located off Hwy 90 in Des Allemands, LA is Airboat Tours, by Arthur Matherne. They offer a variety of bayou tours. Please see the link to their website for more info.

Our tour guide was Greg and he was quite the local character.

One of the birthday twins getting ready to tour.

Our boat. The red things are noise protection ear muffs. The engine is LOUD!
Hymenocallis festalis - Peruvian Lily
Being a born and raised Wisconsin boy, I have never been to the Bayou, but I was all about seeing the swamp and some gators!

Bayou means "small stream" in a local Native American language. It's basically a stream moving through a swamp.

There are lots of specialized plants that do well in the bayou, like cattails, bulrush, waterlilies and cedars. There are a myriad of animals that live there as well, like crayfish, catfish, nutria, snakes, frogs, toads, alligators, herons, turtles, etc.

Iris and Hymenocallis festalis
 

Spanish moss and a gorgeous view.
"Bob"

A nursery log.

In addition to being a natural habitat for many plants and animals, the bayou protects inland areas from coastal erosion caused by hurricanes and storm surge. As these areas disappear, so does their protection. The coastline of Louisiana is shrinking because of this.

I'm afraid I'm not completely sure the area we covered by airboat, but it was a mix of the Dufrene Ponds, Bayou des Allemands, and a little of the Petit Lac des Allemands.

The great thing about an airboat is that it can go almost anywhere. They are very shallow boats that use a fan to propel it over the water. We traveled though open canals, up and over dry embankments and through all manner of mud and "flottant", which are masses of floating vegetation. It looks like you could step out on it, but it's really not land.



Cypress "Knees".
A floating island.
Greg had lots of alligator "friends" out in the bayou. Each time we would pass one he would say hello and if they were really lucky, he would feed them a chunk of raw chicken from the front of the boat. There was Bob, Big Al, Sneaky, Mia and a few more. Greg was very close with "Big Al" - they have been friends for 12 or more years.
Greg playing with "Big Al"
"Sneaky"
A 1-2 year old alligator

Baby alligators are so cute!
At one point Greg picked up a baby alligator and put it in his pocket.

Be sure to stop at the Roadside Daiquiri a few doors down (Hwy 90 and Catfish Lane) for a frosty tasty frozen beverage to celebrate not being eaten by an alligator. I suggest the Amaretto & Pineapple!

You'll know you're there by the big blue gorilla out front.

Lots of nasty Salvinia natans (Floating Fern)

A marshy area.
Not sure what was going on here - but it looked funny!

7 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to try out an airboat and visit the bayou, so it really looks like a great day of fun. I absolutely love the swamp cypresses - they are one of my favourite trees, especially when covered in Spanish moss! Matt

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    1. It's lots of fun, but boy those boats are loud. I joked that they needed the Prius hybrid boat.

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  2. Honestly Matthew...the bayou could be a different country...it looks so foreign. I bet looking at all the different plants was really cool. Love that spanish moss, like lace hanging from the trees.

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    1. It felt foreign to me too. I'm sure there are more extensive and probably better examples of bayou to see, but for my first trip, it was excellent. The Spanish moss is crazy in some places. In the olden days, they used it to stuff mattresses and even used it to make sutures. They call it "Cajun toilet paper" or "Cajun dental floss" too!

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  3. For some reason I didn't do a tour like this when I visited New Orleans. What was I thinking!? Thanks for the great photos.

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  4. 怎么今年不晒牡丹啊?

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