said later he was amazed how fast you could start a fire with half a pint of white gas.
by a fire sounded good but when it was ready, we opted to stay right where we were. My
was wet again and I had nothing else to put on. It seemed like it was getting colder
My next concern was that we were going to
freeze the next
morning when we had to get out of
By 6AM the rain had pretty much stopped and we were ready to get out of that tent. When we
emerged from the tent and looked out over the bayou, we just stood there and sort of
few times. The place looked like a yard sale. All of the camping gear had been washed up
the mangroves. I could see my half-submerged tent about 75 yards down the creek that ran
left of the bayou. The tide had gone out so far, there was very little water remaining.
bags and coolers were hanging from the trees everywhere.
Everyone was concerned primarily with finding their keys and wallets. A couple of us
kayaks and started ferrying stuff back over to the campsite. Each time we stepped on the
we'd sink up to our knees in the muck. The no-see-ums were so bad, I could hardly stand
They were all in my eyes and ears and were biting the hell out of me. I dragged my tent
sandbar. It was too heavy to manage so I unzipped the door and started hauling the stuff
it. Everything was there, even my earrings that I had laid on the floor of the tent. If I
known that my tent was only going that far, I wouldn't have risked drowning trying to save
Next time, I'll remember that.
Katie had found her tent and was trying to locate the essentials. She even found the socks
Aunt Pearl had made for her. Everything that had been in the tents was still there. It was
all wet and a big mess. Everyone would just call out when they found something of great
|Although everyone was dead tired, we paddled back to Goodland as fast as we could. There
still a fair amount of residual adrenaline circulating. We arrived at the parking lot
had launched around 2 PM. The lot was full of people who were attending the weekly
Stan's. This is a beach bar across the street that attracts a little bit of everything. We
didn't even stand out despite our appearance. In fact, Stan's was almost a more surreal
experience than our night
in the storm. I really didn't know the national anthem had that many
verses. And ....a fashion show?
When it was all said and done, I felt like maybe we could have avoided this near disaster.
had a marine radio so why didn't we know what was going on? Why hadn't we listened to the
The people I have told this story to are sort of evenly divided into two camps. One camp
would have gotten out of there and asked why we hadn't listened to the
carefully. People in the other camp just sort of shrug and pay little attention to the
matter. They're more interested in the outcome, not the details. Some, I think, were sorry
have missed it.
By the time we knew there was a problem, it was already dark. Packing up and setting out
dark was not an option. And, as it turns out, Harold had been listening
to the radio off
and on all day. This storm just came out of nowhere and burgeoned, as is the nature of
I guess. If it had not been a full moon, and if the storm had not reached its full fury
at high tide, this would have just been a nuisance.
As it turns out, the persistent memory of that weekend is that awesome full moon rising
behind the mangroves and the wonderful company. I sure I'm in that second camp and this
great adventure! Happy New Year! 1999
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Oil paintings of Florida by John Sterpe all rights reserved �