Local Weather Conditions
MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
Barbed Wire

Many years ago we had a lot of rain that flooded the marsh. Normal landmarks disappeared under water and we were able to travel farther south than I had ever been on the river.

High water on the river

There were three airboats running together that day. The boat I was riding only had a drivers seat, so I sat on the footrest. It makes for a bumpy ride, and you have to keep clear of the accelerator, but you do get a close-up view of the trail!

We had wandered into totally unfamiliar territory, and my boat was third in the line as we skimmed over the water.

Now, in an airboat you don't follow directly behind each other - you would be getting the mist thrown up by the prop wash right in your face. That can be pleasant for a few minutes in the summer, but it was winter time and cold.

Peb on airboat footrest
Me, sitting on the footrest.

I was dressed for cold weather with jeans, a jacket, and knee-high leather boots. When you drive an airboat very fast in cold air it can cut right through your garments, and since I knew I would be riding a footrest and getting the full force of the wind I wore the boots to protect my legs from the cold. One of the best fashion decisions I ever made!

The lead airboat went past a line of trees, and the driver spotted something and pointed towards them for the second airboat to see. The second airboat pointed at the trees for our benefit. My driver, instead of staying in the open like the first two boats, and not seeing what the first boats were pointing to, decided to take a shortcut through the treeline.

The trees were growing on a rise of dirt, but the water was up over the ground so my driver headed for a gap in the trees and started through. The boat met some resistance and the driver figured we were just scraping bottom so he responded as an airboater usually will - he stood on the gas.

The next thing I knew, something struck me right below my knees, slid down both shins and tightened around my ankles. My ankles were pulled back, under the seat stand, with such force that the entire seat stand buckled and bent forward. The driver was thrown out of the boat over my head and I was pinned to the bow of the boat by the collapsed seat stand and my bound ankles.

I was actually terrified most because I didn't feel any pain. It's got to be a pretty serious accident to collapse a seat stand, but I couldn't move my legs and I didn't feel any pain!!! Arrrhhhhggg! I'm paralyzed!!!!!

The boat we were riding - before the seat stand collapsed.

My driver was equally terrified when he picked himself up and ran to see about me. As it turned out, what the other airboaters were pointing at was a line of barbed wire attached to the treeline. Running into a wire at high speed has been known to cause severe injuries - and he didn't know about my good leather boots!

There was a hook on the bow of the airboat especially to catch things like that wire, but somehow it came over the hook. The wire struck me about 1/4 inch from the top of my boots and our forward momentum caused the wire to slide all the way down to my ankles where it used all the conditions present to bend the seat stand and break the two front support rods and pin me like a bug to the bow of the boat.

After my driver had cut me free of the wire and pulled the seat stand off of me I pulled up my jeans to examine the damage. I thought my friend was going to weep with relief when he saw my boots and my unbroken skin!

I was so incredibly lucky! I developed long bruises down both shins and my ankles were just solid masses of bruises. There was another bruise running from one hip bone to the other where I had been pinned to the bow of the boat. Thank goodness I had worn those leather boots, or I would have been cut off at the ankles!

My driver had a scraped hand from his landing when he flew out of the boat and was sopping wet. The seat stand had to be patched together with boat paddles and wire and was too rickety to hold both of us so I had to ride back in another boat. ( I think I got as many bruises from the ride back as I did from the accident - I couldn't reach my feet to the bow of the boat and bounced around a lot.)

All in all, we got off pretty lucky - we got a good story at the cost of a few bruises. I still have those old boots. They have been in and out of fashion three times by now, but with a coat of polish they look just like new. I'll always remember how they saved me from such a close call!

top of page

Bookmark and Share
Click for Melbourne, Florida Forecast
Custom Search
© Graphic Mac Design Service 1999 - 2016. All Rights Reserved.
All photos and graphics property of Graphic Mac and may not be used without permission.
Marshbunny Zazzle Gift Shop
FREE Stuff!
Marshbunny Real Florida Gift Shop
Marshbunny Cafeppress Gift Shop