Riverlogue

This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

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Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Gone for a Week

Yep, last week there were no postings to Riverlogue because we deserted south Louisiana with all its wonderful heat and humidity for a week in the Caribbean heat and humidity. The cruise was mainly to commemorate Carolyn’s transition from a career teaching and practicing nursing to a life of leisure doing other things – sure, right. We’ll see.

What would be the link between the Atchafalaya (and Riverlogue) and a cruise on the seas to the south? Why, that’s where the Atchafalaya water goes, of course. It kind of reminds you that all of this stuff we see out there is connected in a real way, including us. Atchafalaya water is Gulf water, is Caribbean water, is cloud water, is Atchafalaya water again, and on and on and on. Kind of makes you understand that you belong to something very big without making you feel very small. Like, all links in a chain are equally important, even though the chain is very long.

Anyway, the cruise went from Galveston to Key West to Grand Cayman to Cozumel and back to Galveston. The main feature on these ever popular aquatic excursions is always the food, and here is a picture to prove we indulged like all the rest of the passengers – but maybe a little less than some. The primary biologically notable thing was the commercial sea turtle farm on Grand Cayman. It was one of those “This can’t be real!” discoveries. It was begun in the 1960s and it produces green sea turtles for human consumption. Some of the original female turtles are still producing eggs on the man-made beach provided for nesting, and one weighs 575 pounds. The holding ponds are seething with these big animals. The pond to the left of Carolyn (above) gives some idea of how many there are. There are also rearing ponds that hold the two-year olds (I'm holding one), including the percentage of them that are released back to the ocean each year, and there are other ponds that hold the turtles that will be harvested. The latter appeared to be in the 30-40 pound range. Someone (a young man with a lady to impress) tried to handle one of the big turtles and just about got his arm broken by one of the big flippers. He did impress the security guards, not sure about the lady. It is said that the turtle (meat and eggs) is a strong aphrodesiac. Perhaps he really had the right idea. I had a cup of turtle soup - no noticeable effect. Hmm.

One more thing, Cancun is no longer open for Spring Break. After what happened to us last year, we tend to forget that other places had hurricanes too. The one that hit Cancun stayed over them for three days, not several hours like most of ours do, but three days of hurricane winds and rains. The place is basically destroyed, and isn't even open for cruise ships at all. For a place that depends on tourism for just about 100% of its income, that's a problem. If you are thinking of going to the Mexican Riviera East, go to Cozumel and ferry to Playa del Carmen, not Cancun.

All in all, a good trip. On the more local front, the river dropped a lot more than was predicted for last week. My boat ended up in the wrong place and wrecked the walkway to the dock. To fix this you have to get in the mud and crawl around. Not too bad, the water is cool. The pics show before and after fixing the problem.

Also, I left eight filled quart feeders for the hummers, knowing it wouldn’t be enough. And it wasn’t – all eight were empty when we got back. I’m looking at hummers at the window feeding on newly filled feeders now. There really is a lot of natural food, helped by the fact that we had almost no winter.

A mayfly hatch happened last night. That is such an impressive thing to see! Every single thing that eats insects is out catching a breakfast of mayflies this morning – swallows, kites, vireos, warblers, dragonflies and many others. Even Napoleon couldn’t resist chasing the insects. Wow, the sheer numbers reminds you of the shrimp migration in the river, millions of things to eat.

The river is at 5.7 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, and will stay there for at least five days. The Ohio and Mississippi are both falling at the headwaters. Glad to be home.

Rise and Shine, Jim

4 Comments:

Blogger Bud Forester said...

Wow! Looks like y'all passed a good time. I'm glad. And congrats to the Missus!

May 30, 2006 7:55 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Thanks from me for your comment and thanks from Carolyn for your kind words. We had a good time, for sure.
Jim

May 30, 2006 10:20 PM  
Blogger Brigette said...

Jim-

Thanks so much for sharing the fun of your trip! I am so happy for you and your wife (whom I would love to meet one of these days). I am very envious of your time spent at the sea turtle farm, and that has definitely piqued my interests for a fun-filled vacation with my family. I'll have to get the details from you of how to book that trip...what cruiseline and all that good stuff.

Thanks again for sharing.
+Brigette

June 01, 2006 11:53 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Thanks Brigete. Just let me know when you want the information. It's a good way to spend a week, and not too expensive if you leave from Houston or Galveston.

Take care, Jim

June 01, 2006 2:38 PM  

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