I had spent an almost perfect day back and forth from the Carolina Rice Festival at Brunswick Town, Gator gazing and hanging with my dogs Saturday. Hazel had her birthday hike at the Boiling Spring Lakes Nature Preserve, the weather couldn’t have been nicer and I enjoyed walking the old familiar paths at Brunswick Town listening to old Eric Clapton tunes reverberate around the trees and river bank. You just can’t beat good music outside in a beautiful setting. I had spotted one of my old gator friends from last year for the first time and got some shots so I was floating on cloud 9. It was my second trip to the festival and third to hunt alligators. It was cooling off a bit and I was actually getting tired so I made one last stop before heading home. I glanced back at another overlook and my heart skipped a beat and then began pounding so loudly I could barely think. A huge gator was motoring from the far side at a very steady determined clip. From the size of it I was hoping against hope it was my old warrior Popeye who was injured late last year. I raced to the truck, spun gravel turning around and met him halfway. I managed to get 2 short videos before he submarined and disappeared sending the smaller female to exit stage left with a resounding splash!
Fair warning/ Alligator overload… My ole Popeye gator surfaced, submerged, rolled side to side and then turned to leave much to my dismay.
As soon as the gator resurfaced my hopes turned into reality as I saw the tell tale scarring on the black marble right eye of his! Positive ID without a shadow of a doubt identifying it as my old friend Popeye, aka Beau to Lisa and John McNeill of Alligator Alliance. Not only had my ancient dragon survived another cold Carolina winter, he had emerged in tip top physical condition ready to rumble!! I was ecstatic and carried on a private conversation with my old friend of over 15 years now. I have never seen this guy out this early in the season but I was beyond grateful for our visit on Hazel Mae’s second birthday!!
He plowed through the grasses then returned to his old haunt granting me more time to commune with him. I wonder if he was scratching the old healing wound in the greenery…
It never gets old ya’ll... Later my favorite gator.