Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Airboats and Skeeters

Our intrepid paddlers are at the Oak Tree Camp for the night, arriving there about 4 PM.  The day was not as strenuous as I had feared it would be for the guys.  When they got to the weir for the second portage of the trip, the water level was high enough that they were able to traverse it easily without a lot of hard work.  Jim and Gus stopped for a short break at Camp Holly, a place known locally as a great place to get an airboat ride.  Airboats were a fast, noisy presence throughout the day, with one of the airboat operators a bit less than enthusiastic about sharing the waterway with low, slower craft of the paddle type.  When our guys stopped for the night, they were careful about placement of their campsites so they wouldn't be run over by high flying airboats.  Jim placed his tent between two closely spaced trees, and Gus marked his site with a red blinking strobe light placed on a pole.  When I spoke to Jim at 6PM, it was hard to tell which was the louder background noise, the mosquitoes or the airboats.  The gator count for the trip so far is 181.  I asked Jim if he had seen any snakes, as Jeanne Middleton had warned him that there were plenty in the area.  He hasn't seen any yet, and doesn't know if any have seen him.  Hope it stays that way!  Having experienced a nasty bite from a water moccasin early in our residential years in Florida, I'm not too fond of the slither-type creatures!  Gus is supposed to break off from the trip on Sunday.  Lisa, who was going to take his place, is down with the flu.  This might mean that Jim will have to shorten his trip until he can get someone else to go along.  There definitely is safety in numbers, especially out in the boondocks.  We'll have to see what comes.  One thing here which is really great is the number and different types of birds.  The drought at home in Oklahoma has played havoc with the bird populations.  We've seen very few birds in our area there throughout the Spring and Summer of this year, even though we provide a source of clean water and plentiful food for them in our yard on a daily basis.  It's a real pleasure to hear the varied birdsongs here, and be able to watch the many birds flitting happily about in the pines.  Safe paddling to all our friends.  "See ya' " tomorrow.   :>)  Jean

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