When the University of Southern Mississippi OLLI group embarked on a two-hour tour of the Mississippi gulf coast aboard the Betsy Ann, comparisons to Gilligan’s Island ensued. Our skipper, also brave and sure, took a much bigger crowd and actually knew where he was going – along with a lot of interesting information. For instance:
1. The Betsy Ann is the only operational paddlewheel boat in Mississippi.
2. Deer Island is misnamed since it is a spit instead that broke off from the mainland.
3. The onshore lighthouse is said to be the only lighthouse in the world in the middle of a four-lane highway.
4. When we were far enough out for safety, we could take turns with photo ops pretending to be the skipper ourselves!
Our weather was beautiful rather than rough with the only churning water caused by the paddlewheel pushing the boat. The closest we came to anything that appeared to be shipwrecked was a smaller craft, pulled up to an island, clearly just some friends on an afternoon outing. I’m fairly sure they also made it safely back to shore since no one has been reported missing.
Our two-hour tour turned out to be just that, topped off with dinner at the Half-Shell Oyster House. I’m thinking my Shrimp Orleans far surpassed anything we could have scrounged had we been stuck on the island. The crowning glory was the hour-long sunset that led us home.
We didn’t get a TV series out of this – just a blog – but with more interesting classes and enjoyable trips on the horizon at OLLI, I’ll take the Betsy Ann over the Minnow.