Last Thursday night, my wife, Esther, and I joined our son-in-law Brad Taylor for a ride on one of the rivers in the Ace Basin.
On a night that was cloudy and yielding only a glimmer of a sunset, we launched right at sundown.
Traveling with the current towards the ocean, we sped along for about 20 minutes until Brad stopped the engines.
Brad is a licensed Captain, fishing guide, and alligator hunting guide and operates under the name Taylor Outdoors.
As we drifted with the current, Brad told us to be ready for a remarkable sight around the next bend in the river. He said, “Keep your eye on the river bank”. As we rounded the bend, Brad lite up his spotlight and shine it along the water at the edge of the river. The water was lined with sets of eyes, reddish orange eyes that all were seemingly staring right at us! Alligators!! As we approached more closely, we could see the gators swimming in the water, small 3 to 4 foot ones, medium 6 to 8 foot ones, and some that appeared to be in the 10 to 12 foot range. Brad is an expert at judging the length – the distance between the eyes and the end of the nose in inches is approximately the length of the animal in feet. Most of the time, one only sees the head.
I imagine there were at least 15 to 20 gators in this group and every so often a gator would swirled and thrash around in the water with tremendous force – an eerie, primitive sound that can send chills up your spine.
Seeing this many alligators may not seem too remarkable until I mention that this went on for about an hour as we drifted down the river. There were endless sets of eyes. And on both sides of the river! Overall we had to have encountered several hundred gators.
Brad explained this was a rare sight. The experts were not quite sure why so many alligators had congregated in this stretch of the river. A real mystery of Nature. Esther and I were thrilled to have been witness to such an extraordinary happening.
By this time the skies had cleared, the stars were out brightly and the Milky Way was very visible. A wonderful addition to a remarkable night.
Our mission this night was to allow Esther the opportunity to harvest an alligator since she had secured an alligator tag through the SC Department of Natural Resources. She did fulfill her mission with an 8 foot gator.
As we arrived back at the boat ramp at about 11PM, both of us realized we had had a rare opportunity to see Nature at its finest.