Monday, August 16, 2010

Kayaking with the bats in Austin

Drake and I gearing up for the trip.
We took Rye the night before to visit the ghosts and the next night we took Drake to Kayak with the bats.  This was amazing.  When we were in Carlsbad we were unable to see the 400,000 bats leave the cave...that's okay, we saw 1.5 million bats leave from under Congress Bridge.  It was amazing. 

Paddling out to the bridge.
They anticipated that 750,000 bats migrated to Austin in March, all of them pregnant with one "pup".  They all were born in a 7 day period in June.  These bats will migrate back to Mexico when the pups are able to travel that far.  They eat 30,000 pounds of bugs each night.  The farmers love them.  Austin has turned this into a huge tourist attraction.  We rented kayaks, but you can also sign up for a guided tour on a huge boat or walk to the bridge and peer over the sides. 
Cory on Lady Bird Johnson Lake in Austin, TX.

We hit the mother lode on our tour.  The bats had not been as active the last few weeks and so we were told they may not emerge like you would expect, but they did.  You cannot see them with you naked eye.  The tour guides along the river shine a red light up into the bridges underside and then you see the thousands of bats exiting.  They follow the same path and it's like you are watching a space highway above your head.  They try to stay together to create a larger entity to ward off predators.  We had a great time.
The Austin sky scape is before us. This city is amazing!

We were told that in San Antonio they have a colony of 20,000,000 bats.  It's the largest in the world.  That's a lot of guano!
Cory under the bridge anxiously waiting for the hour to pass.
If you look at the bridge picture above you can see black lines running parallel to the bridge.  This is were they expanded Congress Avenue in the '90's from a 4 lane road to a 6 lane road.  The bats live up inside the 2 inch gaps of the black lines.  They say 200 bats live every foot or so.

After the tour we were starving and took Drake to Joe's Crab Shack..the crab was excellent!
I love this picture. 
This is the bridge at night.  The whole bridge is full of people looking over the sides.  We had these huge boats all around us with 50-75 people aboard, then a ton of kayakers all trying to see the same thing....BATS!!
Yes I was the lone life jacket wearer...I was too tired to swim anymore after swimming all day in the pool.  Fortunately I did not tip over.

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