These first four pictures show the different look to the same general area. In some areas the vegetation on the water is light, in some it's so heavy you can't tell if it's solid land or not, and there are also big stretches of open water.
Open water. When it's really hot (as it is most of the year), they zip the boats through here so people can cool off. Our Cajun guide was fantastic, his name was Ted Gauthier, pronounced by him as "Go-Shay", leaving out the "ts" sound in the middle we are used to! I would bet money we were the only ones in the boat who knew how to actually spell his last name. He used some very French-person-speaking-English expressions that made me jump when I heard them, like "I really like to cook, me". Oh my God! I could be in Quebec. He also used some french expressions while speaking English. Cajun French sounds like french spoken with an American accent or like an English person trying to speak French without the right inflection/accent. As with someone speaking English with a heavy British accent, once you tune into the Cajun French, you could understand every word. I loved the whole area, the whole Cajun thing, the music, the language and the culture. Loved it! Having had the unique opportunity to grow up in one pocket of French in North America, it was great to visit another pocket of French people who evolved over several centuries in a different isolated area. There are differences for sure, but the similarities are amazing.
How beautiful! The boat was wide and flat bottomed (gets shallow in places) with a bench down the middle with a back rest, people sat in two rows (one on each side) facing out. So a perfect, comfortable view for everyone and you could even stand up to take a picture without blocking anybody. It was great!
Vegetation very dense here, but it's all water.
Great White Egret.
This is a Nutria. This one is a baby, if you look to the right, that big butt and part of a body is the mother. They look very much like a beaver, but with a rat tail, and this picture shows that tail. They were brought from South America and farmed for fur and food, but when the bottom fell out of the fur industry the fur farms died out. Lots of these either escaped or were released and are now a big problem to the area, so there is a bounty on them in Louisiana. They are supposed to be really good to eat and good for you, but that has never taken off. Must be that rat tail! This is the "rat" of the Seinfeld "rat hat" episode! I think Nutria sounds like such a fake name, like naugahyde or gortex, I'm sure that didn't help it's case as a fur, either.
Nutria family log home. You can see them in there. The vegetation in front is on water.
One of many alligators we saw. It was great to see them in their natural environment!
Do you see what I see? We saw many like this, some even more submerged. You couldn't pay me to stick my hand in the water, let alone swim in it!
Alligators almost disappeared from Louisiana but are protected now and are back in full force.
Raccoons, really? Everyone on the boat went nuts over the raccoons, Terry was just looking at me like "where do these people live?". And here I am standing up taking pictures of them! I just took two pictures then gave myself a shake and sat back down. Of course, both turned out great!
Red-eared Slider turtles (and their reflection in the water). There were many of these, it was great to see them in their natural environment too! These are the turtles that were widely sold in pet stores when I was a kid, complete with plastic dish with a plastic palm tree. Thank goodness that doesn't happen anymore. Almost certain death for those babies.
When I worked for a vet when I was younger, someone brought a small one in to be put to sleep. They said there was something wrong with it's shell - translation: "We don't want it and don't know what to do with it". So we took it but the vet couldn't quite figure out how to dispatch it humanely, and he really didn't want to. So it hung out in the back and I would bring food for it. After a while, I took it home. I had it in a large aquarium and soon he was big enough to have a foot on the bottom and his head out the top! After having him for a few years he had outgrown what I could provide for him so I gave him to a reptile buff at work. For all I know "Murray" might still be alive, they can live for decades if treated properly.
This snake was basking on the bank, or what seemed like a bank, I wouldn't want to test it out to see if it was solid ground! They have four poisonous snakes in Louisiana, including water moccasins, so if the alligators aren't enough, another reason to stay out of the water!
A Great Blue Heron! We saw several of these, this one being quite out in the open. We have them around here, but they take some work to find and I've never been able to get an even halfway decent picture of one. It was great to see them up close! They are usually pretty elusive.
A beautiful house right on the bayou. There are many houses in the area that are raised like this one.
I have been listening to Cajun music since I got back, I'm going to drop a few (You Tube) links here for anyone interested in the Acadians (Cajuns), their music, etc. (Mum, you will like these!!)
Cajun Music (even nailing your feet to the floor won't keep them still):
The Savoy Family Band - Amédée Two Step
Spicy Cajun Accents (from American Tongues): Charmingly argumentative older Cajun couple