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The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
Mosquito Island: Girls Night Out

Being one of the few spots of dry land along the river, Mosquito Island has been a stopping place on most of our boat trips. We have camped out there, stopped to build a fire and cook lunch on cold days, or just stopped to get out and stretch our legs a bit and take a bathroom break.

Michelle took her kayak trip and her stories really made me want to go camping. We decided we could get one weekend campout in before the weather turned too hot. Bonnie was brave enough to go with us, but other friends just said they would come out the next day.

The water was very, very low. The last time Judy and I rode up the 192 canal we had barely made it, so I didn't think we would be able to get the boat with two us and all our camping gear down it. Bonnie dropped me at my boat and drove all our gear to Camp Holly, and with just me in the boat I was able to run down the canal with little trouble.

Michelle met us at Camp Holly, and met up with an airboater who was nice enough to take her for a short airboat ride, and even let her drive a little bit.

Michelle on Airboat

We soon had our boats loaded, and the three of us set off to Mosquito Island.

Click the arrows to see the photos.

We cooked and ate our dinner, drank a couple of bottles of wine and shared some river stories. I didn't take any photos, but I think Michelle collected some video evidence.

This is what night looks and sounds like in the marsh. The clicking sound is my camera strap moving, and there is an airboat right at the end. The lights are from my camera scanning past the lamps left burning in our camp.

None of us got a lot of sleep that night. Though we stowed away all our food and put our trash bag up in a tree, we were still 'racooned'. Racoons climbed the tree and tore down our trash bag and also tried to get into our food bins. Michelle's tent was on the platform that the racoons were climbing over, and she spent a good part of the night pounding on the platform to scare them away.

The girls also said I was snoring loudly, but I think they lie.

The next morning Michelle started the day with a bath in the water just below the camping platform. A very short while later we heard a loud, deep, growling noise that I caught on video.

I left Michelle and Bonnie at camp and went in to Sweetwater to pick Judy up. The weatherman had promised clear weather all weekend, but we kept getting scattered showers. Luckily the weather was warm enough it didn't hurt us to get sprinkled on.

In all my time on the river I had never heard that sound before. It was a little scary!

With a cry of "Danny Treanor don't know $#!*" we carried on.

Judy and I picked up a load of firewood on our way back to camp, and we all sat around talking for a while. Since the water was down so low, we all decided to take a hike along the levy.

Click the arrows to see the photos.

It was a very dry hike, but just a few weeks later we had a tropical storm that filled the marsh with 4 foot of water everywhere. The dirt trails we walked on this trip we were able to ride my boat down, with plenty of water to spare!

Everyone else left and Bonnie and I spent a second night on the island. We were so tired that even the racoons couldn't keep us awake. The rascals are very clever, and managed to not only get our trash again, but also to pull out a plastic tub that had corn on the cob in it. The tub had been turned upside down and tucked firmly under the bench of the picnic table, but in the morning all that was left was the empty tub and a trail of plastic bags and corn husks leading into the underbrush.

I really had a great time, and only wish I had more friends who like to camp!

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