Saturday, September 26, 2009

Canoeing in Okefenokee Swamp

I had a few comments yesterday about the Okefenokee (don't you just love that word?!) Swamp canoeing trip Daniel and I did in March of 2008. So, I thought I'd post a few more pictures and a couple of videos.

Now, those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know that I am pretty much a chicken (no offense to chickens everywhere). I grew up in a country where people are very cautious and in a family that was more than cautious. Which means that I am not only a worry wart, but also have the uncanny ability to always imagine the worst possible scenario, which can make me very fearful.
So, who knows what possessed me when Daniel suggested we canoe in the Okefenokee Swamp to see the alligators...
What struck me most was the calm and quiet of the dark waters. It made for incredible reflections, which I took pictures of at every turn.
We saw many alligators sunning themselves, all of them very docile and some of them coming quite close. This next one was so close that my hand was shaking a bit while taking his picture. He couldn't have cared less.
It was the perfect season to be canoeing there - still cool, but sunny, no mosquitoes yet, but hundreds and hundreds of butterflies. It was magical!
Now, at first I seemed to have trouble with the paddling. In my nervousness I mixed up how to paddle to turn right or left. So we landed in the bushes a few times, until Daniel figured out what I was doing. After that it was smooth sailing...
We did see lots of frogs, dragonflies and alligators, but only one tiny snake. I was imagining snakes hanging from the branches in bundles, so I was a little disappointed!

I loved the big and tall cypress trees!

Here a couple of videos for you. This first one is just the quiet of the little canal we were paddling on. It was so peaceful.

video

And in this next video you can actually see a gator swimming for a bit before it quietly disappears under the surface.

video

Even though I was nervous at first, I relaxed a ways into the trip and ended up really enjoying the six hours we spent on the water. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life!

And - in a weak moment - I committed to going again! (As I was just looking online about camping in the swamp, I came across a great article in the New York Times about just that. Click here to read it.)

I've had a busy couple of days and not as much time to check on your blogs as I'd like! I will be back soon and can't wait to read what's new with you! In the meantime, thank you so much for all your wonderful comments! You make me smile every day!!

14 comments:

  1. Oh wow, so brave and such an awesome adventure.
    Peaceful and safe one too, thew, lol!
    I don't think I could do this trip myself, all sense of reasoning kind of rules over me. Just like a worry wart.
    Thank you for sharing this, loved the video's a little what you experienced.
    Thank you for your beautiful message also Silke, you always give me a smile!

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  2. The camping on a raised platform sounds rather fun. But I would be nervous also about being in a tippy canoe with alligators around. I'm glad you did have a good time. Your pictures are lovely of the experience.

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  3. I like the quiet and the scenery, but I could not handle the alligators and snakes. I think you were very brave to do it!

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  4. Oh wow, what an adventure! You guys really had a good time. Nice photos too. That water is really clear. Yikes, you caught the gator in your cam -wow!

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  5. i love that you admit to be a chicken - because when i first saw the photos in the other blog post, i was amazed at how close you were to some of the swamp inhabitants
    but i must say, the dragonfly photo was my all time favorite - the wings were irredescent

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  6. Hi Silke, it must have been a wonderful adventure, I like very much the photos, I could be very scare knowing there are alligator by my side... you were brave! Thank you for posting it.
    Kisses.

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  7. I have a friend that has property in the swamp and loves spending her time there.

    looks like a fun place to visit.

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  8. love your photos especially the reflections - so gorgeous!! I am VERY PROUD of you to step out of your comfort zone like that...i know EXACTLY what you mean about being a worry wart and imagining the worst thing possible...i tend to be that way sometimes too! thank you for sharing your adventure with us! xoxoxo

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  9. I love the Cypress trees! Yuck on the alligators though. You are brave.

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  10. Just wonderful, Silke. It always amazes me just how beautiful this planet is, with its different biotopes (now there a very "German" expression for you!), the vegetation and animal species in each.

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  11. Oh Silke - you're a braver woman than me!!! I will be showing all this to Bram when he wakes up - he's sleeping in this morning!! I love looking at your pictures & I can't wait to show him the alligator video.

    Hope everything is well with you xxxx

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  12. Das sind wirklich großartige Bilder.
    Tja Krokodile wird man auf der Mosel nicht finden (hehe)
    Have a nice sunday
    Janine

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  13. Aaaah! You and I are twins! I know I know I came from a country where there were giant hydrosaurs gaping at you when you went to the bathroom EEEK! But I am afraid of reptiles! Incidentally I love Florida, always wanted to live there in sarasota which is of course as far as can be from Okefenokee. We used to go fishing at Lake Okechobee. Why did the florida Indians loved to end theor words with the double e? Anyway, I am with you but once you do it, your life is so much richer. I was actually more afraid of the snakes falling from the trees or the wild boars.

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  14. you are brave!
    the scenery is lovely and so exotic.

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