Well, the warm and sunny for walks on the beach, etc., didn’t last long. We awoke to cold, fog and rain. Charts and a GPS led us to the marks leading towards Apalachicola. We were about two hours along, cold and wet,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
A tiny white skiff and 2 fishermen here!
Hand raking the bottom, fresh oysters to get
Even though they are freezing in the dank, cold and wet.
Two hours more and the rain let up just as we passed through Apalachicola. We continue up the Apalachicola River and after 3 or 4 miles we have entered another world. We’ve entered a river in the midst of swamp and marsh land. Sails would do no good here since there are trees to the edge of the water on both sides, some twice as tall as our mast. We could be headed up any remote river anywhere. I’m reminded of Bogart and Hepburn and may just go below and start our fire.
We might just have time traveled back a thousand years or more. There are no signs of humans here. No trash in the water or visible on shore, and the only activity we see is turtles by the dozens sunning themselves on partially submerged logs. The entire time of the river, about 5 hours, we only saw two other boats, not counting the Coast Guard that went by as we dropped anchor.
We cannot go too close to the banks. If we didn’t hit a submerged log, a tree leaning from shore could tear up our mast. And where is it that snakes drop out of trees on unsuspecting passersby?
We come to a split in the river. Which way do we go? There are no signs or markers. Fortunately either route works as they merge ahead.
We arrive to cross Lake Wimico. It is about 6 miles long, 3 miles wide and it seems not much of it is over 2 feet deep. Stick closely to the narrow channel dredged between the markers.
Past the lake is more swamp country. As someone who lives where the land and even sometimes the water solid, I could see myself dying if I tried to leave the boat and go cross country.
We glance down a little side channel and just barely make out a floating cabin tied to the trees. Around another bend, several more are hidden just off the river. Surely they are just part time hunting and fishing camps for really nice folks. Deliverance was only a movie.
A tiny house on the bank is our first sign of permanent habitation. It sits atop pilings. The little yard is fenced and has not a blade of grass or weed, even under the house. Chickens.
As we close in on civilization, it is approaching sunset. We must anchor along the bank. Two anchors are used, one from the bow and one from the stern. This keeps us from swinging it towards shore and running aground, or out into the river and being hit. There is small chance of being hit since we have only seen 3 other boats all day.
The next day is today, 10 February, 2015, a Tuesday. We head out at about 7:30 AM and in a few minutes it is just after 6:30 AM. We have crossed from the eastern to the central time zone.
The morning finds us crossing larger unprotected bays. Temperature is in the mid 40’s. We feel head winds of 25 miles per hour and higher gusts. Small waves throw spray over the bow. I have seldom been this cold in the winter in Montana. We decide this is no fun and find an anchorage in Pearl Bayou outside Panama City. It is nicely protected from the wind and waves. The sun breaks through and the sky clears. We whip up a pot of hot chili for lunch. Even though the winds are supposed to die down some, we decide this will be just right for a relaxing afternoon and night. We promise to push hard tomorrow!