I'm a retired 63 year old senior and have only been paddling my SOT kayak about 4 months. I have had much outdoor experience in the past, though.
A reservoir in Hanahan, SC called "Maybelline" is considered to have the heaviest population of alligators in the world for a lake its size. This lake has developed a lot residentially in the last 20 years or so, and has many beautiful homes built on its shores. The gators have acclimated to people.
I have never been bothered by alligators, I guess it's because they don't like noise. But now, I'm going out alone in my kayak for exercise and the kayak doesn't make much noise… "Not a problem," I thought, "I can see alligators and steer around them." So with no worries, I approached an elevated ledge at a structure that is on the south side of the lake to try to catch some fish.
There was no way the alligator (who was apparently sunning above on the ledge of that structure), could have seen me, or that I could have seen him. He heard me though, and darted very fast off of the ledge into the air, over my head.
This gator was about 8 feet long. He landed about 6 feet from me and the kayak, splashing water on me. He was making roaring noises.
I had no idea how fast the kayak and I could go, until about 3 minutes later when I looked at the trees to my left and I'm pretty sure I was going 5 or 6 MPH.
It's one thing to paddle around alligators, but a totally different thing to have them flying over your head like birds!
I haven't been back there since.
Written by: Ronald Goodman - North Charleston, SC
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