What Would You Do

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Sep 2, 2011
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This is all just in fun while some of you wait for liquid water.

I am sure we have all had situations on the water where we had to make an important decision quickly.

Yesterday I was paddling up a creek that was 8 foot wide. A four foot long log was across the river with one end of it against the right shore. A log on the left bank was out of the water and its cut end defined the left boundary of the creek. Not bad. A solo canoe is less than four feet wide.

The problem was the log on the left was occupied by a ten foot gator. His teeth were at the end of the log. If I had paddled around to the left of the right side obstruction the following could have happened . a) He could have jumped in my canoe in panic. I don't want to tandem in solo canoe much less with a gator.
b. When my paddle whacked him on the nose by accident.. he could have been annoyed. If my paddle was on the other side I could have kissed the gator or given him a pat with my hand. Probably consequences for either of those too.

Conventional wisdom says you wait for the gator to move. This one was busy basking in the sun to become 82 degrees ( a reptilian goal of ecstasy) and clearly wouldn't move. Other conventional wisdom says you take another route. I would have had to back up 1.8 miles for any turnaround spot with a needed radius of 15 feet. Neither was a good option.

So I went far right and full speed ahead rammed the log that was on the water (the one without the gator). Mercifully it moved(it just looked attached; it wasn't) and the gator continued in a blissful state.
 
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Gators thankfully only eat two to five times a year. But they don't share their meal schedule.

Also bemoaning that everyone expects pictures in this day and age. I have to download them and sort and discard. BTW I really dislike the Go Pro as I am no fan of fisheye lenses.
 
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Well, Yellow Canoe, I'm glad that nothing got you. But what with looking out for alligators on the banks and in the water and those damn burmese pythons hanging down from the branches: What would I do? LEAVE! Just as fast as I could.
And be grateful for sub-zero temperatures over the winter.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Me? Here's what I would do. I'm about to strap on my xc skis and head out back of my house for a few miles of peaceful gliding through the woods here on the western side of the Adirondacks. It's now 17 degrees out in the bright sun after being down to zero last night, and the untracked snow is perfect for a fast shuss through woods and fields. Maybe I'll spot a coyote or the fisher that I saw out there a few days ago.... but no need to alter my course for them. Fortunately I haven't yet encountered any gators blocking my way. Though I am getting itchy for the season to change so then my biggest worry of being attacked will be from black flies while paddling. I'll just paddle a bit faster then. :cool:
 
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Thinking this is another reason to have good dry gear with insulating layers. ;)

YC - what happens if you...um...annoy the gator in advance of your passing?
 
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They jump or climb down and submerge. Really interesting creatures especially momma and babies. I probably saw some two hundred gators in ten days of paddling

on my way home to ski

Now let's hear some of your decision points.
 
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Gator defence thread! Best gun for gator defence? Best knife? Will a dog attract a gator or scare it away? Should food barrels be hung, or can gators jump too high? Does bacon attract gators? Do gators become acclimatized to humans? Will they drink your beer if you leave it out?

O my goodness, so much to know, and finally a chance to give those bears a break!

In the case of your gator, Kim, I would have just grabbed my cat and thrown it at it, problem solved.
 
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I agree, gators haven't been pulling their weight; bears and racoons have been vilified for being smarter than your average camper, while alligators have gotten off lightly. Who knows what that Jurassic drop out was thinking? Perhaps it was his day off, from acting as resident water hazard on the back 9 at the Okeefenokee Country Club.
 
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Well, I kind of experienced this same thing a few years ago coming out of Round Top in the Okefenokee; BTW...where were you in the swamp when this happened? I was at the back of our line and all of a sudden the students ahead of me just stopped paddling. When I asked what was going on they were pretty silent. As it turned out, there was a rather large gator just off to our left sitting on a bank of peat, just inches off the water. Every time someone went to pass, the gator would hiss at them. We really didn't have much of a choice because we were heading off to Floyd's Island so I just told them we'd have to go single file, as far to the right as was possible. Move slowly but deliberately and don't do anything rash. Every canoe was hissed at but other than that, nothing else happened. I do understand your situation because I've had other similar incidents paddling in the swamp. Luckily, so far, none of them have turned ugly. I leave Friday at noon for another trip down there so I'm hoping we'll keep our track record of good luck.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

snapper
 
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Joined
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central NYS - 10 miles from the Baseball Hall of F
Memaquay - The little I have seen, dogs can be gator magnets. I guess that's why you're not supposed to have a dog in your boat while on the water in the refuge. Of course, that being said, when I've paddled elsewhere in gator territory I have seen folks with dogs. I know one person I spoke with years ago up in GA said they were having a problem with gators and dogs on a portion of the Savannah River. Seems the dogs ended up being tasty treats if they got too close to the water.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

snapper
 
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Jul 25, 2012
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Well, I dunno, I suspect a depth charge would be prohibitively expensive in terms of weight.

Hmmm....trying to remember; how did that alarm clock thing work out in Peter Pan?

I'll never camp anywhere near the things but it seems to me that if they are grabbing dogs; there's no reason that they wouldn't get a kid if they had half a chance. It's true there are a few that a person wouldn't mind if they went down the hatch but by and large it's a practice that ought to be discouraged.

Wonder what the fish and game position is on letting a little air out of the hissing ones? Sounds like a serious case of over pressure to me.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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What would I do? YC, your story highlights the reason I wouldn't paddle in gator country. I don't mind taking risks, but not the edible kind - where I'm dinner.
 
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Lessee. I must have paddled a couple of thousand miles over eight years in gator country . I'm still here . A paddling friend of mine does some eight miles a day at least a couple hundred days a year and exclusively in gator country as part of her job.

I'd say that the fear of gators is on a par with fear of bears. Give em an out and you ought to be fine.

Now those vicious manatees ....

and semis at 80mph. ... Dam I hate this road
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
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Well, I woke up this morning remembering all the times Yellow Canoe has given me great advice, those links where it directs you to a site, heaps of things that I'd never found on my own.....and now she asks about alligators and what do I do? I make silly jokes. Shame on me. I'm sorry Yellow Canoe.

Now, trying to be better!

Thinking about it: It would seem that when an alligator is up on a bank or log if something startles him, odds are he's going for the water, it's sort of a default position. I'd consider taking a folding slingshot. Plunk him in the ribs and I'd bet he'd move to a situation less threatening. Maybe give him twenty minutes to cool down, then go. They make those slingshots with a support that goes over your forearm that helps steady it and really they're not that hard to learn to use. Buy cheap bags of marbles for ammunition.

If I understand it right; those Burmese pythons are eating up all kinds of small animals, what would have been food in normal times for the alligators. It's kind of like when we see a reported bear attack; there's always somebody who says that the pine nut or berry crop was poor that year. And that's what turned poor old Smokey into a red fanged killer.
Maybe...
Anyway, perhaps what has been true in the past might not hold with the conditions now.

It wasn't asked, but I'd for sure have a good sized sheath knife where I could get to it and if one of those pythons started looping around me, I'd get busy un-zipping him everywhere I could reach. This might be a situation where a wrist loop retainer from the handle of the knife could prove useful.

This whole subject gives me the willies, but Y.C. I do want your around for years to come!

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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