Monday, January 17, 2011

The Time I was Almost Eaten by Alligators.

I may have mentioned before that I really enjoy taking photographs.  This means that I have a huge number of pictures moldering away on my hard drive that I rarely look at.


Tens of thousands. 

And every album has a story.

For example.

One time, I was almost eaten by alligators...

Shortly after I moved back to Colorado from Louisiana, I took a trip to visit my friend Flynn out at a place called Caddo Lake.  He was there looking at some property his family owned, and it was a good opportunity for me to see see some swamp.

Caddo straddles the border of Texas and Louisiana near Shreveport.  We stayed on the Texas side, in a little tiny town called Uncertain.

The sign coming into town made me laugh, as did everything that mentioned the name, like the "Uncertain Grocer" and the "Church of Uncertain"

It was evening when we arrived, and the cyprus trees were starting to lose their needles.  Everything looked magical.

Years later, the HBO television show True Blood, used this same broken down boat-up bar/restaurant in the opening credits.  I took the picture first.  They totally copied me.  Also, Sookie is supposed to live in LOUISIANA, not East Texas.

 It wasn't until the day we took a boat out onto the lake that I realized I was going to die.

I had also just purchased my camera, and I was not 100% on how it worked.  I put it on Auto and just took a ton of pictures, hoping for the best.

Don't get me wrong, I know how to swim, and besides that, most of the lake is shallow enough to stand in and would be between knee and waist deep.  It was what was under the water that scared me.

The surface might look like a mirror when it is reflecting a well-lit background from the top, but it was dark with debris.  I could imagine inky blackness if I were to swim down a foot or two.

Yes, this was the "path" that the boat traveled through.  I remember we got a teeny bit of air as we slid over larger chunks of vegetation.

This meant that anything could be down there.

And this being the South, and a swamp, the first thing I thought was, "There's frickin' alligators here.  Holy crap, I am going to be eaten by alligators."

And what would happen if we got stuck?  No one would  ever find us.

It didn't help that we were zooming along in a tiny little tin can boat with a motor about the size of my pinky.  I know it had to be light and have a shallow draw to have any chance of navigating the constantly changing waterways, but this thing was going a bit overboard (no pun intended).  I was mere inches from snake-infested waters.

Admittedly, we had a guide who grew up on the lake, but that doesn't completely counteract my fear of ... well, everything.

Because I was all about taking photographs, I was put in the very front of the boat.  It had the best view, and the added advantage of no one being able to see my expressions of stark terror.

We tipped this way and that, skimming the water.  I snapped pictures as we went, attempting to distract myself from my own impending death, and because Caddo Lake is frigging AMAZING.

It was almost a shame to break open the algae.

It turned out that I survived.  Alligators are not terribly active in November, and I probably should have been more worried about the duck hunters.

(Photos from November 2007)


MJ Morgan, Writer said...

So glad you survived to claim your True Blood photo credit. Fabulous photos.

Leauxra said...

Thanks, Maryjo... I keep wondering if I could sell these.