Of course, you don't hunt the alligator, the alligator hunts you, especially when you choose to go with a kayaking company called Gator Bait Adventure Tours. We rolled up to their jetty in Waccamaw River Wildlife Refuge with high hopes of some reptilian action.
The area is certainly swampy, with all the houses built on stilts and the sound of banjo music drifting softly through the air. The safety talk was, however, slightly underwhelming, as we were repeatedly told not to scare the alligators. It seems South Carolina gators are not as forward as their Florida kin, and they'll scarper even if you just bang the side of your kayak. Given I was sharing mine with Pete, the most fidgety four-year-old in the world, chances of a close encounter were not good.
But the waterways were calm, the sky clear and sunny, and messing about in boats is always a superb holiday activity so off we went. If judged as a safari, things were...underwhelming. We saw three turtles, two storks and a squirrel, but the excellent guides kindly emailed me a picture of an alligator that I could copy below and pretend that we saw. I guess I'd better get back to cleaning and dusting for my excitement, although my sister did send me an article about some large fish they've just spotted off the coast here...
The beautiful Waccamaw (which means "happy") river.
Happy on the happy river.
A turtle. Look closely.
Off into the narrow channels of the swamp!
Lots of teeth, no gators.
The one we didn't see.
Shhh, Pete! Stop scaring the locals!
We didn't see this either - a brown water snake,
The scariest moment: letting Pete paddle.
Back to some livelier lakes at the hotel.
The majestic sight of a Hannah effortlessly entering the water.
Babies stay with their mothers until they mature (at least 30).
On holiday we like to do crazy exciting things. And by crazy exciting things I mean read books.