Bayou Teche Experience Review
April 8, 2018
Few things make me mad faster than a traffic jam. I hate them so much. However, I am thankful for one that happened when I first moved to Louisiana. I was driving home to Baton Rouge from Texas, and got caught in a traffic jam. Rather than be mad sitting in traffic, I decided to pull off at the first possible exit. I had no idea where I was, it turned out to be a little town called Breaux Bridge. They love adding silent X's to words in Louisiana. I stopped at a little park alongside the bayou, and started wandering around to kill time. While wandering, I met a guy pulling in a bunch of kayaks from the bayou. He explained that he runs the Bayou Teche Experience, and rents kayaks to explore the swamp or bayou.
Having just moved to Louisiana and not knowing anything about swamps or kayaks, I decided to try it. So the next weekend me and a brave coworker decided to kayak through the swamp. Cory, who runs the Bayou Teche Experience, drove us and some kayaks down to Lake Martin--the swamp. He showed us how to comfortably use the kayaks, use the paddles, and recommended some swamp spots to see. Then he let us off on our own. The kayaks were so easy, I felt like an expert in no time. We paddled all around the swamp, and saw turtles, fish, and an ALLIGATOR. The alligator was the highlight of the day, he was huge. We dropped our kayaks off with Cory when we got back to dry land, and headed home, tired and excited about the swamp.
A few weeks later, we came back with more friends this time and decided to kayak down the bayou into the swamp. Cory set us up right outside his building on the shore of the Bayou Teche, named for a gigantic snake that would make Godzilla look small. Cory explained the legend to us. He is an expert on all things cajun in that part of Louisiana. Riding down the bayou was fun too, more of a workout than the calm swamp, but still easy. We did have to cross a few spots on land, but the kayaks were light enough to easily pull. We met some real cajuns while we were out there. They were fishing and tried talking to us, but we had no idea what they were saying. Maybe they were speaking French, or some other cajun language. When we got to the swamp, we saw so many gators. I would guess at least twenty. Once you learn how to spot them, it is really fun, almost like a Where's Waldo book, but more dangerous. Thankfully, the alligators stay away from the kayaks. When we were done, we called Cory and he picked us up.
I ended up going back to the swamp a lot that summer. It is absolutely a must do if you are in southern Louisiana. Cory and the Bayou Teche Experience make it so easy. I went back with my family a few years ago, and they were dreading it. They thought a swamp sounded hot, muggy, and horrible. Of course they ended up loving it. It feels great paddling on the water, seeing the crazy swamp trees, birds, and alligators. I can't wait to go back. I want to do one of the night tours Cory leads. That is when the swamp comes alive, and it sounds awesome.
I have used other companies to rent kayaks from there, but the Bayou Teche Experience is the best. Their kayaks are stable, the kind you sit on top of, rather than inside. And Cory's friendly advice and knowledge of the swamp is great. You will be glad you went.
If you ever saw the movie Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island, it takes place south of Breaux Bridge, in about the exact spot as Lake Martin. But while the swamp does seem spooky in the dark, it is peaceful and fun during the day. I highly recommend you check it out if you can, it is amazing.