Cool Escapes: 6 ways a solar-powered skiff tour is like a magic carpet ride

Looking for fun ways to beat the heat? Our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald, comes to the rescue!

All this week, at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on News with a Twist, she'll take us along on Cool Escapes that are less than a 2-hour drive from New Orleans.


WHERE: The Solar Boat Tour of Bayou Bogue Homa leaves from the boat launch in Logtown, Misssissippi. In normal traffic, it's less than an hour's drive from New Orleans. Solar Boat Tours of Old Joe's Bayou also are available -- they leave from Bay St. Louis.

COST: The Bayou Bouge Homa Tour (featured in our report) is $45 per person; The tour of Old Joe's Bayou is $30 per person.

COMPANY:  Solar Boat Tours, LLC.

LOGTOWN, Mississippi (WGNO) - Imagine riding on a magic carpet -- but on the water! This cool escape was created by entrepreneur Mark Isaacs. He wanted to invent an inexpensive way to go sailing, but soon realized that the market for a sustainable powerboat was far greater than for a sailboat, so the "SolarSkiff" was born.

However, these lightweight vessels still give you the feeling of sailing -- in fact, our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald, says gliding on these solar-powered boats made her feel as if she were soaring like a seagull.  Here are six ways a solar-powered skiff is like a magic carpet:

1. It feels like you're soaring smoothly across the water.

News with a Twist on tour in Bayou Bogue Homa.

The boat is powered by the sun, but that should be the only technology you pay attention to once you're on the tour.

Your focus here should be connecting with nature, visiting the egrets, photographing the herons -- and listening to the serenade of wild birds.

2. The motor is so quiet, you can glide right up to wildlife.

The battery for the 19-pound motor weighs only 9 pounds!

Talk about lightweight! The battery for the solar-powered boat only weighs nine pounds... which makes it easy to transport and fit on the 19-pound motor.

You barely hear the hum as you glide across the water -- and the solar panel continues to absorb energy while you're out and about.

The other big plus? There's no gasoline smell on this boat!

3. You might need a lesson when you first start out.

Solar Boat Tour Founder Mark Isaacs loves the bayou.

Right now the company is offering intimate tours of four people or less. Everyone is required to wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD), and Mark is happy to instruct anyone who is a first-time skiff driver.

If you've driven any kind of boat before, you'll have no problem maneuvering the SolarSkiff!

4. Leave at dawn and discover a magical setting.

The reflections are stunning just after dawn at the Logtown boat launch.

Love to sleep late? This early morning scenery just might make an early riser out of you.

The brilliant colors -- and their reflection on the water -- are simply magical. We give you permission to use your phone -- but just to take photographs like this one.

5. It's comfortable!

Enjoy the view from your comfortable seat on the skiff.

The skiffs have padded seats -- and you can put valuables in a dry bag.

There's two people to a skiff, so take turns driving and soaking up the scenery.

6. You'll have to look out for Mother Nature's obstacles.

A solar-powered skiff soars through water lilies on the bayou.

As our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald, noted in her report, this tour made her feel like she was gliding through one of Claude Monet's water lily paintings.

The lilies eventually put an end to the tour, but working your way around Mother Nature's obstacles is part of what makes this tour intriguing. It's also about respecting nature, and appreciating the gorgeous scenery -- all waiting less than an hour's drive from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.