Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gator's Good!

Wind, rain and gator for lunch were on the agenda today for Jim and Gus.  There was quite a bit of wind for this part of the country today.  We're used to 20-30 MPH winds on the plains of Oklahoma, but the guys experienced 20-25 NNW winds throughout most of today here in Florida.  When we first moved out to Oklahoma we teased the locals there that what they called a breeze on those wide-open prairies would have been considered a hurricane in Florida.   The wind here today was especially nasty when Jim and Gus were crossing Lake Poinset.  The water is so high there this year that they were paddling through areas of tall grass that should have been well ashore, while trying to stay out of the worst of the wind.  Upon finally arriving at the Rt. 520 bridge they stopped at the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp. They were told meals were available, but there were no camping facilities.  After a meal of gator, a first for Jim, they headed back south about 1/2 mile to a small clearing. Jim said he'd been told that gator would taste like chicken, but he thought it was actually better.  Hopefully the two men will get more sleep tonight than they managed last night.  Apparently gator hunting in the dark is enjoyed by many locals.  The guys were kept awake last night by high-powered spotlights being intermittently shone on their campsite, and frequent gunshots going off nearby.  Jim finally got to sleep, but was awakened at 3:45 by the sound of people walking through their site, and what he described as an awful, unidentifiable noise .  In his groggy condition he couldn't tell if the noise had been real or if he had been dreaming.  It became quite real when he heard it again and realized that it was a large, snuffling hunting dog with his nose right against the wall of Jim's tent.  One good result of today's wind was that the mosquitoes have been knocked down.  Jim only saw one while he was setting up his tent.  Usually they find him irresistible.   During the course of the last couple of days of paddling Jim figured out that he normally strokes 900 times per mile when not going against the wind or current.  With approximately another 100 miles to go to get to Palatka, he'll be doing a lot of paddling!!!  Whew! He and Ibi have gone many miles together, sometimes solo, and sometimes in company with other paddlers.  Let's wish them well.  Their run today was a total of 17.1 miles.  The weather forecast for tonight for their area is for rain and a low of 41-degrees.  Hopefully they'll not get socked in tomorrow.  If so, perhaps gator will be on their lunch menu again, and they'll remember to recharge their phone batteries.  Till next time, Happy Paddling!  :>D  Jean 

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