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What's Drifting

  • Fall on the Waccamaw
    Continuing my focus on excellent Fall paddle destinations we now take a virtual tour of one section ... read more
  • Onto the Black
    Continuing my Fall paddle series I would like to take you on a virtual tour of the Black River The B... read more
  • Feels Like Fall
    It s starting to feel like Fall October 1st arrived and it was as if a seasonal switch had been flip... read more

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A Gator Tale

The American Alligator is once again in the news in Southeastern, NC. Not because of any specific incident, but simply because they are here, and have been for a very long time. Whether or not the gator population in our area is growing, is speculative. The increased volume in human population in our area is undeniable. So, considered a different way, does the increase in the human population mean an increase in gator sightings? I would have to say yes. The American Alligator,(unlike the crocodile) is not an aggressive species. They tend to shy away from human contact. But they are territorial, and must establish an aquatic habitat of their own within 3 to 4 years of age. The truth is, if you like to observe alligators, you can almost always locate one. If you're not so fond of gators, you can almost always find a place to paddle where you won't encounter one. Does that mean they're not present? Of course not. I was paddling the Sharks Tooth/Keg Island chain yesterday, when my group and I met a family hunting for sharks teeth on Keg. They wondered if we had seen the alligator tracks.  We hadn't. They offered to point them out, and sure enough, you could easily see the tail and claw marks in the sand and follow the gator's trail. Naturally the next question was, where did it go?  We got back on the water and began paddling along Keg. One member of our group was a bit spooked by the alligator tracks.  Alligators, (just like sharks in the ocean) are a simple fact of life in Southeastern, NC.  You know they are out there, but that shouldn't prevent you from exploring both fresh and salt water environments. How you hold that knowledge in your mind, and how you respond it is the crucial part. More on that to come....

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Continuing my focus on excellent Fall paddle destinations, we now take a virtual tour of one section of the Waccamaw River. The Waccamaw, like its brethren, the Black and Lumber, is a meandering black...

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Scott Schmolesky has been kayaking for over 20 years and has been an instructor the last ten. Most recently he started the outfitter and guide service, The Expedition Organization which offers guided kayak programs in Southeastern, North Carolina. His paddling adventures have taken him through Australia, Europe, and throughout the U.S. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can read more of his articles here.

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