While in New Orleans getting ready for Explore 2014, a few of us got a chance to get outside the city to see the bayou. This experience included not an airboat “tour,” but an airboat “adventure” (as the name would later live up to). I imagined the “adventure” would be a slow, relaxed trip to see some Spanish moss and signs of alligator existence. It’s safe to say I wasn't expecting alligators, speed or marshmallows!
The airboat tour started normal enough. We left the dock and begin cruising at what I thought would be the top speed, 5 miles per hour. As we got farther out we started to pick up speed, and pretty quickly we were flying along at what felt like 60 miles per hour. Since the engine is right behind you, it was also extremely loud. Luckily, we had our “ear defenders” as called by Gordon Fleming, QAD’s CMO.
I thought we would be done with surprises, but we haven’t talked about alligators or marshmallows yet... Since this was the swamp, I was expecting to see signs of alligators, but apparently with a package of marshmallows, and a fearless pilot, we’d see a lot more than that. Here’s a video of just what actually happened:
Surprisingly, alligators love marshmallows, and even more surprisingly, our pilot had no fear of alligators (and their extremely large mouths). He had no qualms about jumping in with them, wrestling with them and making us question if we would have to learn how to drive an airboat back. (Consensus: we had no clue what to do — maybe our shoes would have to serve as oars?)
If this wasn't enough, just when we thought the action was over, we were in for one more surprise. Now, if you don’t know this, Louisiana can be warm. Combine this with humidity, and by 11am we were ready for a drink, so when our pilot stopped and asked if anyone wanted a drink, again there was consensus, yes, we were thirsty.
What emerged from a harmless cooler though was anything but a coke. Instead it was 30 pounds of gator!
The experience of the airboat adventure was something I will never forget, and I encourage you if you have some time before or after Explore, go pay a visit to Airboat Adventures in Laffite, Louisiana, only a half hour outside New Orleans. You won’t regret it!