A Certified "Airboater"!
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. >>>
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!"
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
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."
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."
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.
Sammie in the drivers seat on the
trail to Pop Hanna's camp.
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 >>>>