"…I laugh in the face of danger…!"**

WhatYou want me to prove it?

Apparently, I can't read the "Danger Alligators" sign...;)

We've just returned from a week at Kiawah Island, a naturally beautiful vacation destination that nourishes my soul and spirit, and always-ALWAYS leaves me wanting more.  Though world-class golf and tennis is available (their Ocean Course will host the 2012 PGA Championship, previously the venue for the Ryder Cup ('91) and the Senior PGA Championship ('07)), it's the artistry of Kiawah's maritime forest and marshes, the allure of shore and sea, and an unbridled animal attraction that beckons me year after year. 

The call of the wild is siren to me–enchanting, irresistible…and potentially dangerous. 

We didn't see gray foxes or bobcats, I have yet to lay eyes on a loggerhead turtle (though dunes are protected for them), but we did see deer; laughing gulls, wood storks, red knots and piping plovers; a copper-frickin'-head and a rattle-frackin'-snake (okay, those were both in captivity at the Heron Park Nature Center, along with plenty of non-venomous snakes) and…my FAVORITE CREATURE TO FIND AT KIAWAH–

Stephen spots our first alligator!

Alligators!  Stephen spots the first one of the week, but he doesn't look thrilled about how close we are; I told him not to worry, if the gator charges, serpentine!  {I always hear the voices of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin from the original "In-laws" when I tell my kids this.}  Rumored to run at speeds of 35 m.p.h., the alligator might have the advantage in a foot race.

Undaunted, I get closer.

alligator on bank at Bass Pond, Kiawah Island, SC

I can't help it…I inch a little closer still…

gator on bank at Bass Pond, Kiawah

This is where Stephen's concern outweighed my need (and apparent insanity) to get closer.

alligator close up @ Kiawah Island

My FAVORITE alligator sighting was outside our friends Chris and Julie's place; we named him Bad Mama Jama because he was and he is

Kiawah Island alligator

Bad Mama Jama was so still, I thought he was freakish Kiawah yard art…until Chris said his mouth hadn't been open before.  My husband, sounding much like my son days earlier, suggested I was close enough and not to get any closer!

Kiawah alligator close up

When he wasn't looking, I might've stepped a teensy bit closer…HOW COULD I NOT??? WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT AMAZING CREATURE?!

Before heading out, Stephen and I took one more bike ride to bid the island adieu and–who am I kidding?–to see if we could spot one last gator.  None were prowling the pond banks yet, but we did see this fella just below the water's surface.

alligator in water

Unfortunately, he was shadowed by a giant.  A giant photographer.  A giant photographer that looks veddy familiar….


Which makes me wonder:  Can alligators jump?

alligator head close up

Cause if they can, I don't think it matters how well or fast you can serpentine…! 😉

** Without clicking the link, can you name the movie referenced and the character who said it?

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