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What the What? April 29, 2009

Posted by dianehuhn in Paddling, Photography, Ramblings, Relief Work.
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So I occasionally enjoy checking in to see if some poor unsuspecting soul surfing the interwebs has stumbled upon my blog by innocently typing in a few search terms that I happened to use in a post. I got a chuckle this morning when I saw that yesterday some one clicked on this site hoping to find out the answer to the question “Can an alligator bite through a kayak?” And well, I had to chuckle even more because I’m fairly certain that I did that same search when I decided to move to southern Terrebonne Parish.


I tend to get a lot of hits from people looking for information about alligators and kayaking. Things like “alligators and kayaks,” “paddling with alligators,” and a recent favorite of “alligator tip over kayk.” I’m sure it’s because I often write about alligators, occasionally about kayaking, and one of the first posts I ever put up on this blog was indeed about kayaking with alligators and my search for tips to avoid being eaten by one while doing so.


But sometimes people end up on my blog through a strange variety of search strings. It’s kind of odd because I almost never use tags, which I know I should, but I just don’t. A couple of days ago someone ended up here by typing in “blue creature four leg” which I found somewhat amusing. I mean the name of my blog is Blue Dog Nights so maybe that’s where the blue comes in. And I’m sure I’ve used the words creature, four and leg at least once and well, possibly numerous times. But I’m fairly certain I’ve not used the phrase “blue creature four leg” in any of my posts. And I guess it just makes me wonder what search engine was this person using or how many pages of results they had to go through to get here.


I gave it a shot on Google and came up with 308,000 results for “blue creature four leg”. Now my guess would be that my blog would be like the 262,473rd result, but who knows? I gave up at the fifth page. I did find it amusing, however, when one of the results was “Good tags to use for your creatures”.


But, I guess one of the funniest (and possibly most disturbing) search strings I’ve come across in the 10 or so months that I’ve had this site has got to be “x“. Seriously, what the what? But now I am totally having second thoughts about posting this. I mean am I going to start getting all kinds of hits from God knows who searching for “x”? While I’d like to have more than my regular four followers, do I really want to risk having a bunch of perverts happening upon my site while searching for “x”? Ummmmm…I guess not. So I guess you’l just never know what that search string really was.


And now for something completely different. Thanks to the team from PA working out at Miss Margaret’s. Todays’ photo was taken in Point-aux-Chenes and is entitled Git-r-Done! I came close to posting the pic I took of the dead alligator I almost ran over with my truck today. But, well, that’s pretty gross and my Mom wants to see more photos of our work teams. So, Mom, if you’re tuning in, here ya go and thanks.


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A Weekend Tourist November 10, 2008

Posted by dianehuhn in Big Fun on the Bayou, Friends, Paddling, Travels.
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I had an enjoyable weekend being a tourist in my new backyard. On Saturday, I took Mark and Debbie to the French Quarter. The only time other time they had been in New Orleans was when they got lost in a not so nice section of town at night, and, well, let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant experience for them, so I wanted to show them the joy of NOLA. We had a good time walking around the Quarter, taking in the sights, the sounds, and the smells. And, of course, a little coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Yeah, baby! For pictures, click here.

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This morning, after opening the Houma Courier and reading a nice article about Natalie Bergeron, our Wellness and Community Outreach Coordinator at Bayou Grace, I headed on down the bayou to LUMCON (Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium). On my way back, I stopped and had coffee with Mr. Moe and Miss Enola, then headed over to the Chauvin Sculpture Garden. It was incredible! Then I grabbed a bite to eat and headed out in my kayak down the Petit Caillou Bayou, which is the bayou I live on. For pictures from my adventures today, click here.

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All in all, a wonderful way to spend a weekend in Southern Louisiana!

Please check out the article about Natalie. Natalie has a true heart of gold. I could go on and on about what an amazing person she is, and how blessed I am to work with her, but click below and you’ll get the picture, and also get to read a few of my comments regarding Natalie.

http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20081109/ARTICLES/811099986

For another article featuring Natalie and her hurricane relieft efforts, visit:

http://blogs.oxfamamerica.org/index.php/2008/09/19/storms-mud-and-no-jobs-whats-next/

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about LUMCON or the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, click the links below:

http://www.lumcon.edu/

http://www.nicholls.edu/folkartcenter/

What to do if your kayak encounters alligators… June 25, 2008

Posted by dianehuhn in Paddling.
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Took a paddle along Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake tonight. It was beautiful! Saw more fish than I’ve seen in a long time. More birds than I can name. Even saw a snake twisting it’s way across the surface, which I admit scared the heck out of me. It was huge. OK, well maybe it wasn’t that big. Well, actually it was just a baby snake. But it was still a snake and it was heading right for me! Well, I thought it was. Alright…I admit it. I’m a wimp.

Anyway, I can’t wait to paddle the bayous, but the snake incident got me to thinking. So, what am I going to do if I come across a gator??? Well, I decided to do a little research and share my findings with you in the event that you are ever in this situation. Here are some tips I found, but I’ve added a few of my own thoughts in boldface.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR KAYAK ENCOUNTERS ALLIGATORS:

When you happen on a gator, it will almost certainly run right into the water (and at that point I will undoubtedly be crying and sitting in a puddle of something other than water) . Although it appears to be charging, it is just trying to get into the water where it feels safest (are they completely sure about this? I mean if I’m scared of something, I tend to run away from it, not charge towards it.). Pay attention to the following in planning a paddle adventure in alligator territory:

1. Contact your local Fish & Game Dept for trends in predator activities such as mating and nesting season for alligators, seasonal behavior patterns and times of day of increased predator activity or recent attacks (yep, I’m scared). This is usually dusk & dawn, as darkness gives any predator an advantage (OK, no dusk or dawn paddles. Not a problem.); but don’t just rely on that (oh great!).

2. It is always smart to keep your wits about you (easy for you to say!), so stay sober (alright, but if I’m going to get eaten by a gator, do I really want to be sober?), and in the warm months do not cut around creek bends too closely, as these are the strategic spots where alligators like to lay hidden and keep an eye out for prey (ie. me). Shallow waterways in the south (ie. the bayou) are favorite places for alligators to nestle down. Avoid the chance you may unsettle them (yes, yes, no unsettling). Although alligators are shy, they don’t like being surprised (well, sure, neither do I, but I don’t have jaws capable of delivering a bite with 1800 pounds of pressure), and paddling in ditches about 5-10 feet wide when alligators can leap 5 feet from water’s edge is asking for trouble (OMG, they fly too???), especially in the warmer months in the evening when they are on the prowl, and during nesting season which is roughly the entire summer (note to self–no summer paddling trips).

3. If you want to explore shallow narrow areas where alligators frequent, do it when temperatures fall below 70 degrees, when alligators basically become inactive (but it’s Southern Louisiana, so how often does this happen?). Put as much as 100 feet distance between them and your kayak (You got it!).

4. Although a gator that slips off a bank on your approach is somewhere underneath you (ahhhhh!), and may even follow you a little (oh boy, maybe this isn’t such a good idea), stay calm (um..sure) and know that it will not “thump” you from underneath (that’s what she said) or lunge out of the water at you. Keep paddling (very, very quickly), be wary, and if you are a little spooked (a little?), a group of South Carolina kayakers familiar with alligators advise that you bang your paddle on your kayak a few times to intimidate it (ok, banging paddle good). Some however believe this may sound like wounded prey thrashing about in the mud peaking its interest (whoa, so am I supposed to bang my paddle of not??? Come on people, this is serious, make up your mind!). Because their hearing is sensitive I would remove all doubt and use my PFD whistle (I think I’ll be investing in a nice large air horn).

5. Signs an alligator is near (oh good, they post signs): A wallow where they like to roll and cool down in the mud; a slide where they slip into the water; a nest (so will there be signs posted or not?). If you ever come across small alligators with, depending on the species, yellow stripes, you have found juveniles, which means the mother is somewhere nearby. Baby alligators stay with mom for up to a year. If you remember anything, don’t ever stop to observe them or try to touch or catch one (seriously, there’s no need to worry about that happening!). The protectiveness of mother alligators can not be overstated. Certainly do not hunt, harass, or feed them (certainly!).

Alrighty then…anyone interested in a cheap used kayak???