Saturday, February 16, 2013

St. Johns River - Day 3A

Little Sawgrass Lake Shelter.
It was a 12.0 mile paddle to the shelter on Little Sawgrass Lake. This was the only solid thing around to raise us above the level of the swamp. We pulled our boats alongside, unloaded our gear, and set our tents up on the platform. There was an enclosure, but we opted to set our tents on the deck outside, as waterfowl and other wildlife had left quite a bit of manure in there while seeking shelter for themselves. We did put our gear in there, and used the enclosure for preparing meals on the surrounding bench.

We had to tip-toe around some holes in the decking, some weak boards,
and exposed nails, but it was home sweet home.
I had been having a problem with my camera from the start. It was something I hadn’t experienced before, so hadn’t taken measures to prevent it. The mornings were always at about 100% humidity, which would drop as the sun warmed the air. This meant that I couldn’t take any pictures until about noon. I kept my camera in a drybag, but as soon as I pulled it out, the entire camera, inside and out, would be covered with condensation in seconds, and any pictures would be foggy. It looks like I need to start collecting silica gel packets. That will protect the camera inside the bag, but I don’t know if that will make any difference once I pull the bag out. I guess I’ll find out. Are there any suggestions out there? The problem kept both you and I from seeing some nice images I missed getting.

Our tents on Little Sawgrass Shelter.
I had a schedule of calling home every evening at 6 pm. As remote as the St. Johns is, it runs parallel with the I-95 corridor, so we had good cell phone service the whole way. As I stood in the shelter talking with Jean, I recognized the distant drone of the approaching swarm…the sound of millions of beating wings. As it got closer, I could even see the dark cloud the mosquito swarm created, and Gus and I both dove in our tents. It was lights out at 6:20.

The view from our shelter as the early morning light
floods across the glassy lake and a few patches of water hyacinth.
This was one of only a couple early morning shots to make it.


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