Waking up on a beach is a good life. I woke up ready for a big day. I got onto the water as I was looking to travel through a lot of the back sloughs today. Sloughs are back channels along the main current. They are like a state road to the interstate. It was a quiet day to be paddling. I headed across the river to get into the sloughs. I had to go over a barely covered rock dike to get into them. The sloughs offer a slower pace that allows you to enjoy the people and culture of the river. I was able to see a lot of the summer cabins and homes on the river. A lot of them have been flooded out this year and people were beginning to clean them out.
It was nearing lunch time. I pulled up to a covered dock that had some people out replanting the grass. I met the Soey’s. The grandparents and their 3 grandkids were there cleaning up and enjoying time out on the river. I asked permission to dock. They agreed and had me come up. I ended up coming upstairs and making my lunch. The grand kids were bombing me with questions about my boat, the river, and my travels. I smiled and answered everything they threw out my way. It was fun doing a rapid answer session with them. They all came out to see my boat and see me off. Before I left, I got a photo of them and answered even more questions. It was good talking with them.
After that, I met a guy named Todd. He was working with his crew to clean up their clubhouse. We talked about Clearwater, FL. He thought what I was doing was really cool. I told him when I planned to arrive. He told me he would be down there for a family vacation at the same time. We agreed to try to meet up and grab a drink and share some stories once I get down there. It is a small world sometimes.
I continued on and met a guy named Aaron. He was changing the fluids to his twin boat motors. We talked for a bit about river life. It was another good person that I had the pleasure of talking to on the river. It started to become a larger habit to talk with everyone I meet on the river.
I took off after a short bit. I heard jet skies around the corner. I turned the corner and saw some kids playing on a jet ski. I sat back and watched as they were whipping each other around on a tube. As they went towards their dock, I pulled up to talk with them. I met Caleb, Kyle, and Lexi. They were all high school seniors. They invited me to dock up and go tubing with them. I was up for that and the opportunity to photograph them as they were playing. I pulled out my camera once I was docked. They were going to shoot some pictures of me out tubing. I was ready to go in the water at this point. I pulled my camera out and took off the lens cap. I tossed it into the open cockpit of my boat. It hit the seat and bounced out into the water. For some reason, I thought it would float. I was wrong. I saw it starting to sink. I put the camera down and decided to dive in and do an eagle claw grab on it. I dove in and missed it. Crap. There went my lens cap. It was gone. I was not thrilled. It is something I will have to replace soon. I ended up going out tubing. It was a fun and rough ride, but I loved every minute of it. I came back in and asked Kyle to go out so I could get a few action shots. He agreed. I got him and then I got Lexi going by on the tube. After they brought the jet skies in, out came the shotgun and potato gun. I have heard about the potato guns, but never saw one. They started shooting potatoes out of the gun and shooting the potatoes like skeet shooting. I shot the potato gun to see what it was like. I turned down the shotgun.
After blasting some things, they wrapped it up and were heading out to dinner. They told me that they were going to be launching fireworks later that evening. I decided to stick around as I wanted to capture some more firework shots over the river. I set up my hammock and waited for them to return. When they returned, I left them with my information. We went outside to launch some fireworks. I managed to get a few good shots of this. They went through a fair amount of big shells and fountains. Once that was wrapped up, Lexi left. I ended up staying up to talk with Caleb and Kyle. We had some good conversations before I called it a night. I was tired and ready to get into my hammock. I was set up under the awning of a house next door. I was right on the edge where if it rained, I would get wet. There was not a big chance for rain, but as I settled in, I heard thunder coming my way. I went out to my boat to grab my tarp. I tied it up over my hammock and used a large stick to extend it out away from me. It came in handy as the rain came later that evening. It was a surprisingly cool evening, but it was refreshing.