2017: New Orleans

Swamp Kayaking

April 4


There are several companies that take tourists through one of the many swamps surrounding New Orleans. What interested us, though, was a little more specific -- kayaking in a swamp. I signed us up with the one company that does such tours and we headed for the swamp, about 45 minutes away from our camp.

Like all kayak tour operators, they provided the hated sit-on-top kayaks; at least their versions had seats with back supports, unlike the one in San Antonio. Also, Mike and I would be in a tandem for this outing, so I didn't need to worry about tiring out before the paddle was over.

We started out very near a busy highway, and paddled underneath one of the many over-the-swamp bridges we had already driven. But it didn't take long for us to leave the traffic noise behind.

I had a vision in my head that we would be paddling in some dense shady vegetation, with cypress trees and their Spanish moss overhanging the boat. So I was surprised at how open the waterway was for most of the paddle. Glad I wore my hat and my sunscreen!

Paddling the tandem was, um, challenging. The last time we'd done that was the experience that led us to buy our individual kayaks, so...I should have known. Mike was sitting in the back and thus should have attempted to match my stroke, but he seemed unable to do so. I couldn't match his strokes, because I couldn't really see what he was doing. So finally I quit trying and just let him do all the work. So there.

Finally the channel started to narrow and the trees to close in a bit. Real swamp at last!

This truly was the forest primeval. The lush vegetation was breathtaking. We could have been the only people on the planet. At one point the channel was completely choked with a water plant; we had to muscle our way through.

I had hoped for some wildlife sightings, but the only thing we saw was another of the ubiquitous egrets that seemed to follow us everywhere. The lone alligator sighting was a small distant head in the water that immediately disappeared as soon as I looked where another tourist pointed.

I could have floated in this soothing natural world for much longer, but too soon it was time to turn around and head back. It hadn't been the greatest kayak trip ever, but it was pleasant. And on the plus side, there weren't any bugs.

The next day, Mike got his comeuppance for wearing shorts and no sunscreen. For a week he was shedding skin like a lizard.