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MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
A Certified "Airboater"!

I have a sister named Sammie who has lived her entire life in Michigan. She and her boyfriend (now husband) Tom came down on a visit one winter and I arranged for us all to go on an airboat ride.

<<< SideNote: We knew right away that there was going to be some culture shock when Tom asked what we do about ice. "Not a problem," someone said, "I picked up plenty on the way out." Tom looked confused and explained that he was talking about fishing - do we have to cut a hole in the ice? We explained to him that ice on the river meant you had enough to keep your beer cold. >>>

Tom looked at the river and saw that there was no ice, but lots and lots of swimming things. "Yes," we told him, "There isn't an inch of water in Florida that isn't just teeming with life!"

AirboatWe all met at Sweetwater and Sammie and Tom got to look at an airboat for the first time. They asked how you make an airboat go and we pointed out the accellerator pedal and rudder stick.

They looked around carefully and mentioned they didn't see a brake - how do you stop it? With our faces straight, someone replied "You take your foot off the gas and head for a tree."

Sammie and Tom laughed...a little...and casually noticed that there were no seat belts. "Oh, no!" they were told, "If you are in a crash there is a danger of the prop flying apart, so you really want to be thrown clear of the boat rather than being trapped in it. The bad part is that then you are usually run over by the same boat you just left... but it will probably just mash you into the muck."

And I told Tom "You aren't an official "Airboater" until you have hit the water at least once."

They must have been sure we were "greenin" them, but we all boldly loaded up on two airboats and rode off the see the river. After riding a while we decided to head out to Pop Hanna's camp to build a fire and warm up. The trail out to the camp was clear, but not very deep and only airboat-wide.

We sat around the campfire for a while warming up, drinking Jim Beam, and telling more 'gator stories - like how they like to knock airboats over, grab a person and go into a death roll to kill them. You know, just entertaining our guests.

Sammy on the Airboat Trail
Sammie in the drivers seat on the trail to Pop Hanna's camp.

Eventually we were ready to ride out and explore some more. We left camp with Tom riding the foot rest on the lead boat and Sammie and I standing on either side of the seat stand on the second boat. We flew along the trail until we suddenly turned a sharp corner and saw....

>>>> More >>>>

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