Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another day, another few miles

Jim is in for the night in a sheltered site.  He actually turned back for a couple of miles today to find a suitable place to wait out the winds which seem determined to test his mettle.  Last night he had trouble finding a place where he could safely pull IBI out of the water and set up camp.  Most of Choctawhatchee Bay has heavy rip/rap along at least the western shore where Jim was travelling.  That does not lend itself to ease of safely getting out of the water with a small craft, especially when the wind is kicking up a chop.  He finally spied a man in a small kayak who pointed out a decent place to get out safely.  Jim set up camp last night and went to sleep, to be awakened at about midnight by two alligators, about 50 yards from his tent, who were disputing between them the rights to that same beach property.  To say that the rest of his night was peaceful would not contain much truth.  Today, when he determined that it was time to put in for a decent nights' rest, it was difficult to find any place to stop.  Most of the shoreline where he was is all swampy and very wild, with no place in sight to go ashore.  He then backtracked to a site he had seen earlier.  It is at the end of a dirt road on private property.  Jim walked up to the nearby house to get permission to stay for the night at the waters edge.  The lady of the house, we'll call her Mrs. Dan since Jim didn't think to get permission to use her name in the blog, called her husband on the phone.  She gave Jim a drink of water and graciously accepted his ID card with the blog address on it.  She and her husband gave Jim permission to set up camp and he went back to do so.  A little later on she came down to the camp site, bringing Jim an apple and a banana and told him that she had checked out the blog.  We both wish to thank that couple very much for their gracious hospitality and kindness.  Jim was very touched by their thoughtfulness and acceptance of his presence in that very rural setting.  I thank them both for being so kind to my husband!  Another person soon showed up at Jim's campsite then.  Mr. Fred Borg, of Panama City (we did get permission to use his name in the blog) arrived to meet Jim.  He had decided earlier in the day to try to catch up with Jim somewhere on his way into the canal at Pt. Washington.  When Jim didn't arrive there, Fred called another friend who looked up Jim's SPOT position and directed Fred right to Jim's campsite.  Bless the SPOT.  Also, bless people like the Dans(sic) and Fred Borg, who care enough about Jim's efforts to support Save the Children that they go out of their way to help in any way they can.  Fred even offered to have Jim stay with him when he gets down to the Panama City area, with the enticement of a cold drink, a hot shower, a real bed and the company of his cat.  Some of our friends in Oklahoma know that Jim has a little part-Siamese kitty who thinks the sun rises and sets in Jim.  If it wasn't for the possibility of her running away from the boat or campsite or being eaten by an alligator, I think Jim would have taken Piper with him.  So, Fred, the offer of feline company would also be most welcome for Jim, as would all of your other most generous offers.  Thank all of you so much, from me and from Jim.  Don't know if any of you are aware that Jim also plays the highland bagpipes too, but there sure wasn't room in IBI for them, so no one is going to be awakened at dawn by his piping.  Too bad in a way, he could have given those two gators something to think about last night!  Hopefully tomorrow will bring more good progress.  Jim's planning on starting out at dawn, after getting up at 4 AM, hoping to beat the wind.  OK everybody, lets give a concerted effort to wishing for good wind.  Thanks, and good night to all for now, and don't forget to support Save the Children. 

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