July - August2008

Marine Life
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July-August 2008, Palatka, Fl

The boat work continues, blah blah blah.  I doubt if many readers want the full update so the condensed version is this.... 1 "helper" made a lot more work for Justin.  He continues to battle the elements for good weather to gel coat.  Has a portion of the starboard side smoothed out and will be getting it all done as soon as possible.  It is coming along nicely and looks really good so far.  I can't wait to start the interior!

Tropical Storm Faye hit Palatka full on, the eye crossed right over the boat.  All is fine here though.  There are a lot of logs and debris floating about the river now and the tide is very very high.  Docks took a bit of damage and there were 6 ft waves in the St Johns River! 

In our endless quest of exploration and adventure, we found ourselves once again out of our depth!  We went camping again and, just for "fun", decided to paddle a 7 mile canoe trip down Juniper Springs.   In our usual Grizwald method of doing things, we did not read the literature before we embarked on our trip and later read "THIS RUN IS  NOT FOR BEGINNERS!"  Ahh, that makes sense!  7 miles doesn't seem long but I guess we were thinking in V8 terms.   The comedy began when we picked up our canoe and were told to carry it down a long windy path in 5 minutes or we wouldn't get to go!  Naturally we were a little late getting started.  Anyway, after needlessly bashing several trees and foliage on our way to the creek, a fellow boater pointed out that we were making it more difficult to carry than need be and he adjusted our canoe for us!  Ahhh, much better!    Justin raced back up the path to get our life jackets, emergency whistle and oars and we were off.  We clambered into our boat and set off down the creek around 12.00pm.  "Yea, we know what we're doing, we are sailors and these are boat kids not to mention I won a canoe race back in Girl Scout camp!"  The current carried us very nicely along and as the water was so shallow at the start I wondered aloud why we even needed life jackets?  About 2 seconds later we all leaned to the right to narrowly avoid taking our heads off on a low branch.  This made our canoe a little too tippy to the right and we nearly flipped.  Instead we took on several gallons of icy cold spring water and lost an oar!  I was very proud of the kids, they immediately starting baling the canoe!  All those days of baling the dinghy after the rain have taught them something!  We were not so fortunate with every branch, and there were lots of them.  We never flipped our boat but we all got a bump or two hundred!  We caught up with our oar that was floating away and managed to get the boat semi dry.  To Justin's dismay the next 4 hours were to be without a cigarette as they all got water damaged.  It was quite comical as we fought the windy corners, the rapid current, low branches - duck and limbo!  There was so much noise coming from our canoe I think we frightened whatever wildlife was out there.  We were lucky to see otters however, deer and lots of turtles.  About 4 hours later we were getting concerned about the time.  The last pick up for boaters was 4pm and it was just after already.  Not to mention we had several forks  in the creek with no indication as to which way to venture on.  We just chose the way the boat went!    Abi apparently also noticed because she started to ask questions....."How much longer"? , "Are we going the right way?"  Where are the other boaters?"   "Should the creek be so swampy?"  Basically she voiced all that was going through our head and like good parents, we lied,  "not much longer now... yes this is the right way.... the other boaters are just behind us.....etc. etc. etc"   It is amazing how things can go from desolate and beautiful to desolate and worrying in the blink of an eye!  Soon enough we reached the end and managed to paddle over to our haul out spot which was also not very clearly signposted!  The Park Ranger Bob informed us that there were several wrong ways on those forks and how we didn't take one is pure luck!  Most boaters carry a map I think!  He also said if we'd have missed the very indiscrete haul out spot apparently we would have just gone miles and miles further and eventually been plopped into Lake George!  What a thought!  We were happy to hop out of that canoe and surprised when our legs wouldn't cooperate.  After 4 and half hours on a hard aluminum seat your own seat gets a bit stiff!  A week later my muscles came right, Justin of course had no trouble because he "does a lot of sanding"!   My bloody thumb healed (from fending off branches, sticks and what not), my sides recovered (i laughed till it hurt) and we live to tell the tale!!

I think the best things in life are the ones that aren't planned.  We probably would never have done it if we had read the literature first!

Bottle feeding Zoi (friend's pet racoon) Guinea Fowl hatchling Camping Ocala National Forest

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