We arrived in the middle of bayou country in Louisiana and were well received by the locals. Their southern drawl was fast and often indecipherable, but our translator insisted that it was in fact English. The expedition has no political implications, but we had established contact with the town mayor of Henderson, LA to be our initial escort.
His official handle is Mayor Collette, but he insisted that we simply call him Sherbin. Flooding isn’t the only problem in Louisiana, and he brought us on his boat to fish while giving us the schematics of the marsh and swamp habitats. He made short work of hau ling in catfish and showed us the outer lying parts that we would need an airboat to reach.
We found ourselves an airboat captain and he laughed at the sight of our scuba diving equipment. He promised to show us Trouble up close, but said we would be sorry if we ever stepped into the swamp.
Cottonmouth snakes primed with venom. Snapping turtles eager to relieve you of fingers. Alligators ready to take you home and feed the family. The wildlife in the swamp blended in so well that we often couldn’t tell what we were looking at. The bayou had its own version of Trouble lurking beneath the surface, and we needed to learn the rules if we were to make it out.
We met local hunting legend Jude Mequet who has tasted every flavor of Trouble that the bayou wildlife has to offer. It wasn’t gator season so he couldn’t take us out, but after the stories he shared I can’t imagine many of the men would have volunteered. Jude himself hunts alone and told us of the time he tagged a gator so big that he couldn’t load it into his boat. He had no choice but to sink his skiff, float the massive gator into it, and then bailed out the water for over 4 hours while hungry eyes watched him from nearby.
Certainly not your average hunt, but when you’re looking for Trouble nothing ever is.