Sunday, July 18, 2010

Later Gator!!!

One of the big goals my family had for our South Carolina trip was to see a wild alligator.  You may think this is a dumb goal, especially given the gator's reputation for  eating small children and slow-witted adults (such as my husband), but it was a goal none the less.  We did achieve that goal multiple times now, but not without a cost.  Admission cost, that is.

Our first gator sighting plan was to hike out to marshes and lagoons.  We did this over several days, logging a good 30 miles or so of trail hiking - but to no avail.  We did, however, lose weight due to all that hiking under the EXTREEMLY HOT South Carolina sun - and we all slept really well in our tents under the EXTREEMLY HOT South Carolina moon.

Then we decided on a different approach.  We went to the Hunting Island Visitor's Center because it was advertised that a female alligator was living in the Center's pond.  We stood up on the poarch of the Visitor's Center and stared at the pond for 26 minutes, and then we finally spotted her:

I know it's not easy, but if you get out a magnifying glass and kind of squint your eyes and look on the shore under the tree, you will see her.

We were pretty excited, but not satisfied, so the next day we went to another venue boasting of alligators.  We drove almost two hours to the historic Magnolia Plantation, paid for admission to the plantation and grounds, plus paid extra for entrance into The Swamp area which is preserved land maintained by the Audobon society (and where, incidentally, the 1940's classic movie, Swampthing, was filmed).  Well, it was pretty damn hot that day (kind of a South Carolina theme), so, even though we had paid the $400 admission, we skipped the plantation and garden area, and went straight to the swamp in search of an alligator.  We were rewarded - while my tired, sweaty, dirty family trudged up ahead of me, I noticed that one of the logs in the water had what looked, suspiciously,  like eyes pearched right up on top.  I called the boys back, and they all agreed the the log in question was actually alive. So, my idiot husband had the idea that if we proceeded to throw sticks and rocks in the general direction of the living log, it might just move.  So he and 17 year old Steven did just that, and voila - the log began to swim, revealing a full sized alligator - plus another full size alligator a little further away.  I thought that since we had annoyed this dangerous animal who had a strong enough jaw chock full of sharp teeth that it could easily kill and devour an adult deer or water buffalo - it might be time to mosey on down the path (but not until after I got a picture or two):

At that point we were satisfied.  Our alligator hunting over, we moved on to other exciting quests, such as shopping.  The next day was Steven's 18th birthday - and there is nothing that boy likes better than a mall.  I discovered that Hilton Head island boasted having the largest outlet mall in south Carolina - so birthday shopping it was.  We arrived at the mall - which was packed with cars (possibly due to the promise of air conditioning), and we parked along the outside of the lot near a small pond.  At that point, my ever observant husband noticed some movement in the pond - and certain it was an otter, he dragged us all over to investigate.  not an otter, though:

Right there, in the pond by the mall, was a young alligator - just smiling up at us like it was hoping we would toss it a McDonald's hamburger or something.  but it did not get a hamburger from us that day.  Four year old  Marko, having learned from the example of his idiot father and big brother the day before, threw a rock at it - so we all jumped back into the car and moved to a different parking spot.

1 comment:

  1. Great story!!! Missed your blogs while you were on vacation! Hope to see you at the pool