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St. George Island, FL
Miles Today: 187.2
Total Miles: 4952.3
Days on the Road: 109

Last time we updated the stats: March
How lame is that: a lot
Oh John, where would we be without you?
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Apalachicola My Love
N 29°36.674 W 84°58.206
Monday, May 19, 2003 - Day 109

For all you present and future Vanagon drivers out there, we've recently discovered a new way to up the coolness factor of these cars. Nothing to do with the unreliable A/C - I'm talking about adding a couple kayaks to the top of your ride. If not cooler, well then at least they make the car taller. We're not sure if it was imposing height or the aura of water sports that moved so many people to wave and nod approvingly, but there was a noticeable increase in driver friendliness during our brief tour with the kayaks. It could've also been because Liz was wearing only her bikini most the time.

In addition to driving around with the kayaks on our car, we also put them in the water a few different times to paddle out to a couple island campgrounds off of St. George Island.

Our first island camp was an easy 20-minute paddle (or a 2 1/2 mile hike for those without water transportation) to a primitive campground maintained by the nearby state park. That little crossing ended with Anthony tossing first his paddle then his shirt and cursing the left-leaning nature of his kayak. (Apparently his kayak wanted to take all left turns in the somewhat current infested water.) Our return the next morning ended similarly and, if we'd been speaking to each other at the time, we probably would've decided to scrap the much lengthier and more strenuous trip out to Little St. George Island.

Fortunately, our solidarity was restored when the curse of the left-leaning kayak struck Liz as well on the way to Little St. George and made her stop offering encouraging advice such as "maybe you just need to hold the paddle more evenly". Must be true what they say - misery loves company, and boy were we in love.

Paddling into the wind and against a fairly strong current (by our novice estimation), we reached the much hyped and feared Government's Cut about two hours later than planned. Locals had storied us about boats that had gone down in this half-mile cut where the 4-foot shallows of the Apalachicola Bay deepen to 10 feet and flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Tales of sailboats going down and drifting off to sea and a barge that got "turned around on four before it got righted" and our rental place, Journeys of St. George Island (great bunch that, highly recommended), cautioning us to get a tide table and "be sure to cross at slack tide" - we were a little spooked, mostly because we had no idea what that meant. As is our style, we didn't bother asking, just figured we'd work it out or something.

We must have hit the slack tide right on because it was pretty easy sailing to the other side where Little St. George Island began. In our original plan, this was to be our 4 mile lunch stop before we continued another 6 miles to a more secluded campsite a short hike from a lighthouse. Foolishly sunburned, tired and way behind schedule, we decided to make camp a little early save ourselves the extra 12 miles roundtrip.

Alone on an uninhabited island, whatever could two people to do to pass the time and escape the torturous sun for three hours until it sets? We came up with a few ideas that, as a collection, we dubbed: Survivor Florida. The events included building a kick-ass sun shelter, competing in the tent pole javelin (animated!) and pantomiming uses for our tent poles such as: a gondola pole, a fishing rod, a tight rope, a tv antaena and a monkey line. A monkey line? Liz was nearly voted off the island for that one.

Our paddle home - or "back in the paddle" as we liked to call it - was in much smoother water than our journey out, and also treated us to at least a dozen dolphin sightings within twenty feet of our boats. It would've taken us less than half the time it took us to go the same four miles we went yesterday if we hadn't been blown off course by a menacing storm that seemingly came out of nowhere. One minute we're sweating under sunny skies and the next we're hearing thunder and watching gray clouds close in on us. A local fisherman even stopped to warn us about water spouts (or water tornadoes) and sternly told us to "watch that weather".

We quickly took cover and, knock on wood, lived to tell this soon-to-end story about our brush with bad weather in the Apalachicola Bay. And now we've told it. And you've read it. So this must be the end.

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more photos in the archives »

We also had fun in Manatee Springs. Why not read about it?

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yesterday tomorrow