Dispatchers from the Persian Gulf, a swamp of honey island

For me, IZ CITY MUST MAKE FREE CIVILIZATION & # 39; In many places you have to retreat from neon signs and golden arches and completely get out of the concrete jungle to find the desert. Generally, if I had even one bar reception on my cell phone, then I didn't have far enough. Many of America's populated areas are trying to integrate the desert into civilization in the form of "green areas" – exquisite meadow plots and meadow benches that supposedly convey a sense of nature and openness. In The Deep South, it's the other way around. Here small towns bring a sense of civilization to huge, untreated places. Even larger suburbs seem to be strained to keep the creeping desert underwater.

Slidell is a New Orleans suburb located on a pine canopy on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain. It is an area filled with rivers and floods, where small gravel roads lead to stretches of home that are deep in the marshes where you would not think these neighborhoods could be. It is a low-lying area so low (3 feet, precise) that the term "terra firma" does not actually apply. And unlike many places around the country, one can dig deeper into the desert here and throw stones at Waffle House.

Slidel is bounded on the east by the west bank of the Pearl River, flowing through it, located on the Indian highway at Nanih Vaya, in central Mississippi, and drains into Rigolets and finally into the Gulf of Mexico. Pearl is located in the swampy area of ​​the Honey Island, one of the most beautiful and least changing rivers in the United States. It calls it "fairytale wild honey" tales made by rhinoceros bees who have fled their beekeepers.


We did not make any hotel reservations. It was nothing on the journey. We had no plans other than to travel alone and explore the forgotten corners of the land of these subtropical wonders. We drove slowly along Hwy 190, trying to get in. I soon saw that the graves were not Katrina's. the only items stolen by flood waters. A great tanker sailed a mile from the open water of Ug. I went out to take some photos and was immediately attacked by swarms of what the over-flying ants looked like. These little monsters had come in twin pairs, and I was surprised that they would take the time out of their pretextual rituals to get their teeth (or jaws, or poker, or whatever) into my forearms. My only option was to run until I was able to take a few photos and then drive again. It is astonishing how fast a thirty-year-old can run when he is chased by two-headed satanic errors.

A few miles and a few beach boats later we drew up a list of clutches that welcomed the Swamp Museum off the coast of Prophet. A wooden corridor went out to the bank, where we met two captains on a marshy tour, both with heavy emphasis. It was early in the morning, and the two captains completed their day trips. They told me that the swamp tour business was good before Katrina. The Honey Island Swamp guides are now fortunate to have one full boat in one day, and it would be a waste of gas and time just to take us on a turning tour. As we made our way back to our car, another tour sailed by boat and offered to take us to heaven.

Ah, the swamp. Something I've seen in many films but never felt for myself. Surprisingly, it was so peaceful for wildlife. The setting was right off the boat launch site on the Disneyland Caribbean pirates, except that the scene of that special swim was probably taken from here. The old cape boards started running the bank, and I was half expecting to catch a fisherman who would like to work, Susanna & # 39; on its bangos before the pirate world falls into the waterfall. But this was the real deal. It was obvious that Katrina was here. The rows of boards floating along the boats were floating. Beyond the start, a small mid-size pavilion rested near a slightly smaller house. Next to the first boy ran a small board that seemed to be crushed by the storm.

Deadly River

"I & # 39; I'm going to plug in a little electricity, ”says Neil Benson, captain of the Pearl River Eco-tour. "Oh good good," I thought. "I & # 39; I'm dying here. " It turns out that he just meant that he was going to run the ship really fast. However, it felt good. Captain Neal stopped a mile down the main waterway and stopped turning into a narrow canal crossing a fog called the Dead River. The blacksmith is a surface system of the underwater pond which runs parallel to the main highway. The Honey Island Marsh is a 70,000-acre maze of these sleds.

"Beware of the huge cut as we go," Neil warned as he pointed to the dense fragments of tall, large grass that dug along the side of the ship as we drove past. "It's & # 39;

Neil Benson grew up in a swamp. He first went to the pirogue at the age of 10 alone, and on the 12th he got his first motorcycle. “I know a lot of people here who are very strange. Everyone who lives in the swamp runs from something – the law or the votes. in their heads. "

This caught my interest. I asked him to provide details later.

"Sw Swarm is a place to lose yourself. Sometimes purposeful, sometimes casual. If you run away from life, the marsh will easily accommodate your request and take away your past and hide it in the water and under the trees. »»

In the labyrinth of the Dead River, we were going mile by mile before I realized that after getting out of the car, we had stung by a bug. Not even a mosquito that surprised me considering we were in the open in the swamp. In fact, in addition to the many attempts by our newborn and # 39 to jump off the boat, this was the most peaceful boat ride I've ever gone on. The Swamp Swamp is a beautiful place. Bal is true, knees of bald fists tremble on the misty surface. Still dark waters combine with opaque animal and beefy enchanted tuffles to seduce, but also charm. Wikipedia defines the swamp as "a damp area that represents the temporary or permanent intrusion of large areas by surface water bodies." The Nile defines it as an "underwater forest".


The Nile killed the engine as the seabed opened into a snowy lake or reservoir created when the broad meadow of the river was cut. I noticed a small green tree frog dug on an armchair beside my elbow. Although the marsh is densely populated with wildlife, it does require a trained eye to attract much attention. When I saw the frog, I began to notice it everywhere. The marsh is like the Waldo 3rd place where & # 39; The best way to learn about wildlife is to think about one type of animal and scan the banks until you see it.

We don't have many critics in Utah. I sleep on forest floors and dive into lakes and rivers without a second thought. My nurtured wife from Texas was almost heartbroken when she first saw me go out to the Provo River for a swim. There is a shortage of cattle in Utah that can hurt / hurt / kill you compared to Deep South. The most dangerous creature for Utah hunters is fury. And even he will give you a fair warning before the strike.

What worries me about this swamp is the wildlife that you can see – the standards that blow under the rusty surface of the water. Neil says swimming in the swamp is no more dangerous than swimming in any other river. "Yes, we have alligators, snakes and sometimes stunning sharks in the river. However, like animals in their natural ecosystem, animals are more afraid of humans than humans are afraid of them. ”

Well, I guess it's only sometimes that bull sharks get mixed up with alligators and snakes. I feel so confident.

SWAMP rates and gates

Something of a political anomaly, Neil is a serious environmentalist who drives a NRA bumper pickup. His love of exploration and adventure grew into the passion of this delicate ecosystem, and he led marsh tours for over a decade. A few days later, Hurricane Katrina nearly wiped out life in the swamp, removing its canopy and flooding it with salt water, with Neil planning to check damage with Tampa Tribune journalist Ben Montgomery.

"This is incredible," he told Montgomery. “For the life of me, I never predicted it. Passed: All":

"It was the first time I had been in the swamp after a hurricane," Neil tells me over the phone two years later, on the second anniversary of Katrina and # 39. “It was a heart attack. I'm & # 39; I'm not an emotional person, but I have to tell you that I was in tears. " A few hours by boat with Captain Neil reveals his zeal for this place.

Returning to the open water, we saw our first goalkeeper. After noticing one, we began to see them everywhere. As we passed, the alligators were floating on a boat that would throw in the swampy marshes for the Nile to throw at them. He even managed to get a pet he called Big Al.

In the trough, you see a lot from the corner of your eye. Here a frog or a snake, an alligator or a wild boar. There are stories about a very evasive creature, fondly called "The Word." Of the many scenes reported, no obscure photos were ever taken of the beast. But there are many believers. The "Honey Island" swamp monster is more a myth than a fisherman and swamp inhabitants. Over the years, several investigators have produced a monster & # 39; alleged footprints. Neil owns one of these casts. He preferred not to try it during the tour, "because I'm & # 39; I want to have some credibility. " His official position. "I believe in the 'swamp monster of the island of Meghri', and therefore it exists. If God did not exist, he would have to invent it. "

We were not witnesses of a fabulous creature that day. But then again maybe we were just moved to "tourist-friendly" swamp areas where the beast is less likely to be a skull. Looking at the swamp satellite image, I & # 39; i was amazed at how little we saw it. Next time I'm & # 39;

Neil tells me he takes people out for private trips, but he insists that clients sign "sign your life away".

"Because when you find yourself so far from nowhere, no one can predict what will happen."

Sign me up, Neil.