King Cnut (and, yes, I have given in to the forces of historical spelling correctness) would have advised us to abandon our hubris, and accept the fact that water hyacinths rule the laguna.
But we six souls on Friday would hear nothing of it. We decided to mount a frontal attack on the invading plants in the inlet just outside my gate.
The neighbor had cleared out a portion -- and it turned out to be a great spot for the crocodile to hunt. We decided he could use some more room.
It turns out that water hyacinths are very easy to pull out of the water. They spread by sending out shoots. As a result, they form a large floating platform with roots extending into the water. From a fish's eye-view, it must look like a jellyfish with chlorophyll.
They are easy to get out of the water -- only because they are not rooted. But they can be heavy.
To harvest our "crop," we needed to position ourselves on a steep soggy bank. We then used either a rake (for nearby plants) or a grappling hook (for plants beyond the rake's reach). That plant was thrown on the malecon where it was loaded into a wheelbarrow and then dumped in a vacant lot.
After two hours, we six volunteers had cleared out a strip of the hyacinths that will give some of the wildlife an opportunity for open water. (If you look at the photograph below, it is the water in the upper left -- looking a bit muddy.) I suspect the snails, small fish, and frogs preferred the cover. But there is still plenty for them.
With a couple of boats and a full crew, the inlet could probably be cleared in a week.
Even though my back objected on Saturday morning, I would gladly prove good old King Cnut wrong -- one plant at a time.
On another day.