Canoeing With Alligators on the Old Santee Canal

When Hubby broadcasts his intention of sweeping me off my toes and into an unstable craft in lizard laden waters, I put my foot down. I am up for almost any form of boating. Nevertheless, if I’m going to be in a gator territory, I would moderately not swim. Not that I’ve ever over-turned a canoe, however there may be all the time a primary time.

Simply north of Charleston, South Carolina wander miles of waterways that after made up an unlimited canal system. Now set aside as a wildlife sanctuary and dubbed Outdated Santee Canal Park, the realm shelters nice egrets, little blue herons, water moccasins and plenty and plenty of alligators. Paths meander round marshy swimming pools and thru damp woods and broad walkways present protected passage over mud flats and soupy inexperienced swamps. I crave exploration and can fortunately go for a stroll, however I’ve no intention of getting up shut and private with a pre-historic inexperienced leviathan.

We comply with put boating on the again burner and discover the reserve from the security of the boardwalk. Cyprus and sycamore bushes tower over head and pink rose mallow blooms within the marsh. I pay attention to my environment, mentally cataloging the flora and infrequently stopping to see what fauna I’d spy within the tangled undergrowth. A black and yellow backyard spider stakes out his territory, his physique hanging the other way up in a zippered internet. A monarch butterfly flits throughout my path. I peer over the railing to comply with her progress and there, within the reeds beneath me, lies a 4 foot alligator. His eyes are black and his pores and skin is the colour of duck weed. I’m overcome. Not with concern thoughts you, with awe. He seems to be so historic, like a creature from the land that point forgot. Instantly I can’t get in that tippy canoe quick sufficient.

We do a fast march again to the interpretive heart and, for 5 bucks, lease a ship. In minutes, we clamber in and push off into the murky water.

Osprey peer at us from tree tops nests and nice blue herons hunt mosquito fish within the shallows. Field turtles and yellow bellied sliders solar themselves on floating logs. We paddle into the far reaches of the canal system the place wild rice grows and Spanish moss drips from the bushes.

The channel narrows and we fastidiously navigate beneath a low inexperienced bridge. The air remains to be and heat and tickles my nostril. I scan the shore for tell-tale gator slides. After which we see him-a ten foot magnificence sleeping on the financial institution. I can not assist myself; I need to get nearer. We paddle as soon as, laborious, pull our blades out of the water, and silently drift in. The reptile opens his eyes and, apparently not pleased with our intrusion on his siesta, shifts his large weight, lurches into the water, and swims proper beneath our canoe. I might simply contact him. My coronary heart races. I’m enchanted and terrified. After which, similar to that, he’s gone.

It is not till later I be taught that alligators leap. We by no means ought to have ventured so near that outdated boy’s area. I used to be afraid of tipping my canoe and touchdown in his territory. Looking back… I am simply glad he did not land in mine.


Outdated HVAC repair Santee Canal Park is positioned in Moncks Nook, South Carolina simply ½ hour north of Charleston. The park consists of climbing trails, commentary platforms, a boardwalk, canoe leases, an interpretive heart, a picnic shelter, a studying heart, and the Berkley Museum. There are additionally tons of actions. It is open 12 months spherical from 9am -5pm (Interpretive Heart closes at four:30). Price is simply $three per individual and children beneath 6 are free.

Outdated Santee Canal Park isn’t solely an incredible place to see wildlife first-hand, it’s also dwelling to the Stony Touchdown Plantation, a phenomenal 18th century home furnished with copy interval furnishings. Open for excursions day by day.

Have dinner on the canal at Gilligan’s Sea Meals Restaurant in Monck’s Nook (simply minutes from the Outdated Santee Canal park) the place not solely will you discover one of the best hush-puppies on the planet, you possibly can feast on sustainably harvested native shrimp and recycle oyster shells. Sure, they plant the shells again within the oyster beds serving to insure cleaner water and pleased consuming for generations to return. Open 11am-9pm and 11am-10pm Friday’s and Saturdays.

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