For those following the St. Johns River trip, an update on Gus Bianchi’s effort to complete the river ended at Astor, on the south end of Lake George, FL. I was prompted to call him this morning after seeing reports of forest fires in Salt Springs, where they were to end the trip, causing road closures and evacuations. I had noticed Gus’ SPOT had ended at Astor, but thought perhaps he had forgotten to turn it back on, so a follow-up phone call was in order.
Gus reports they had had strong headwinds the day before reaching Astor, but had found some protection in the twists and turns of the river. Once they reached Astor, however, the forecast was for continued strong northerly winds. Lake George is huge, and can generate dangerous seas even for larger powerboats. The area around much of Lake George also provides no place to get ashore in the swamp, and the county prohibits camping at those few spots where one can get on dry land. Unless they wanted to spend a lot of time just sitting out the weather, the trip was at a dead-end.
Fortunately, they had gotten out just in time. Forest fires had already closed down I-95, requiring a change in route to get home, and then fires broke out in Salt Springs Park and Ocala National Forest, where they would have been had it not been for the headwinds. In short, Gus is now home, and all ended well.