Local Experiences


4/16/2018 | Connie Raley

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Nestled at the base of the Pascagoula River is an estuary where the salty sea of the Gulf Coast intertwines with the fresh river water providing a unique habitat for many plant and animal com- munities. Many small waterways converge here creating a network of twists and turns. One of these is the Mary Walker Bayou.

The Mary Walker Bayou has the main launching dock for the Eco-Tours of South Mississippi, which has been offering guided tours of the Pascagoula River marsh for twelve years. It is owned and operated by Captain Kathy Wilkinson.

Travelers from around the world and those close to home come to Gautier to boat along the Pascagoula River with the Eco-Tours. Capt. Wilkinson has a wealth of knowledge about the area and the ecosystem itself. One of the best ways to explore a new area of the world is with a local guide, and this tour is the only one with so many diverse offerings here in South Mississip- pi.

The boat itself is a 24’ Sea Ark and is a commercial version of a popular one used by hunters and fisherman alike. It has an 8’ wide bottom that makes it quite stable in the water and lends to a smooth ride. The aluminum boat holds up to six people and offers comfortable seating.

The tour sets off through the brackish water of the estuary and winds along the river through tall marsh vegetation known as black needlerush and smooth cord grass, and slightly more elevat- ed wooded areas called hammocks.

The Pascagoula River marsh offers shelter and nourishment for local animal life, insects, many migratory birds, and over 300 species of plants. Cruising along, one can also see some of the beautiful homes of the coast, and the old school fishing camps of the past.

Take in impressive views of the cypress swamps and salt marshes of the Pascagoula River or coastal barrier islands, where you may also come across alligators or even the yellow-blotched sawback, an endangered turtle that is only found in the Pascagoula River Basin.

The most popular tours are two hours, but there are also four and eight hour tours available. For a rustic overnight experience, your captain will take you up river to spend the night in a cozy cabin in the swamp. A customized experience is also available to meet your specific needs.

These tours are excellent for bird watchers, plant lovers, photographers, and anyone just wanti- ng a relaxing stroll down the peaceful river. For an extra bit of fun, these tours are also available in a kayak. And don’t miss the summer sunset tours coming up. They are sure to be spectacu- lar!

Visit the website @ecotoursofsouthmississippi.com for pricing and more information.

228-297-TOUR(8687) ecotours.ms@gmail.com

Connie Raley