Alligator!

I'm enjoying a nice day at the springs, trying to look nonchalant while all the time scanning the river for alligators when S yells, "Look!" I don't see anything at first, but then I notice a slight wake and its lizardy source.

"Get the camera!" I shout. "Run!"

He runs one direction and I run across the bridge to the floating dock. That stubborn gator is paddling out of a corner where I'd just been sitting looking for him. Lucky for me, a guy on the floating deck is fishing. Mr. Gator appears to have some interest in the lure.

S walks over (not following orders) and shoves the camera into my hands. I'm poised, ready. I've been waiting a long time for this shot.

"NOW!" S yells. "Take it NOW!"

"I'm trying," I say.

"NOW!"

I put the motor drive on and try to follow Mr. Gator. Word's gotten out, and a bunch of kids and adults pound down the dock, causing it to bob in the water. Since I'm standing on the edge with my eye against the camera, the dock feels like a ship in high seas and I'm almost woman overboard.

Mr. Gator slips under some weeds. Ha! As if we'd forget. Some people canoe right over him. "There's an alligator under you!" we yell.

"Where? Where?" They lose their rhythm for a moment, paddle in circles. When they don't see anything, they seem to decide we're joking and they dip their oars lazily, slowly floating away.

After a few minutes, the gator emerges in all of his crocodilian glory, spiky back and all.

"Now! NOW!"

I fire off a bunch of shots; I got him good now. Like a submarine, he slips underwater and disappears. We leave the dock. I am happy, because the first picture I took when I got here was this:

10 comments:

Travis Erwin said...

Look like a pretty good sized fellow.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana got some great shots of gators on our recent swamp tour. We also found the headless body of one that had been skinned and dumped along the river by poachers.

Danette Haworth said...

Travis, he looked about five or six feet to me.

Charles, I'll check out Lana's blog for those!

Brenda said...

You are such a brave soul...I would have been running far away only looking back to make sure I was running faster then the people behind me...grin...

Great pics by the way...

Angie Frazier said...

Going all Crocodile Dundee on us, eh? Just kidding :-) I would have been terrified!

Stella said...

I flinch at the sight of jellyfish. Can't imagine what I'd do if I saw one of those buggers. Eeeek!

Mary Witzl said...

I saw an alligator in a Florida swamp once, and I've heard a few too. They scare me: they're so primitive looking, aren't they? But there is also something endearing about them. I suspect I've seen Disney's 'The Rescuers' one too many times.

Danette Haworth said...

Mary,
It's weird to live in front of a computer, have TV beamed into my house via satellite and yet go on a walk and see a creature that looks prehistoric. And though I like to joke about seeing alligators, I would never want to be close enough to count his teeth.

It's common knowledge around here that every body of water in Florida is home to an alligator.

courtney said...

Amazing shots. I don't know what's more alarming though--the photographs themselves, or that sign! But WOW, great shots.

Sheri said...

I don't think I could get used to seeing gators! I like the fauna in my neck of the woods, nothing too sinister... bunnies, squirrels, a fox or two, a plethora of deer. We know there are bear, but we never see them. We hear there is a mountain lion (or cougar...), but we never see her either, and I like it that way.