We are staying at a KOA very close to the Ogeechee River, a broad tidal river flowing to the Atlantic near Savannah. Today was a beautiful, almost perfect weather day. The sun was shining, there were small clouds and light breezes with a temperature of about 75 degrees. There is a very nice launch and pier located right off Rt. 17 so, we decided to paddle the river. Given that the tide was going down as we set out but would be turning soon, we decided to paddle toward the sea and hopefully, time it so that we would be paddling back as the tide was coming in. We paddled about 90 minutes and found a sandbar on which to have lunch before the tide rose over the exposed sand. Most of the rest of the river was muddy with mullets jumping straight up and out of the water all around. I saw a bald eagle and several kingfishers as we launched, but after that we didn’t see much in the way of birds given that it was a marsh area with little fishes all around. We did see two pileated woodpeckers (think Woody Woodpecker for those of you old enough to remember him) pecking holes in the electric lines supporting the railroad that traveled on a bridge over the river. Every once in awhile, a large fish would thrash alongside the kayak startling us but otherwise non-threatening. Though there are manatees in this river, because it was low tide, they would not have been present while we were kayaking but we still looked for the telltale swirl of the tail and the nose peaking out of the water. That said, while we were about ½ mile from the landing, I looked to my right and there on the riverbank was a large (5-6 ft.) alligator and as I passed, he got up from sunning himself and slid into the water. (Bob claims that after living with him, my ability to judge size is not accurate, but it looked pretty big to both of us) Again, for those of you old enough to understand this, like Captain Hook, I was hoping to hear the tell-tale tick tock of the clock in his belly warning of his approach, but no such luck. Every time I put my paddle in the water, I half expected to lose either the paddle and my hand or the paddle. Needless to say, since I am typing this, I did not have a close encounter with the alligator but it was a sobering experience. Gotta keep your eyes out. Also, note to self….take an extra paddle just in case!