Updated: May 15
The river camp was fantastic. The showers were warm, the toilets clean and the bug screened enclosures even had a plug outlet for me to charge up my batteries. I have stayed in many previous paid camps that were not as good as this one, and here it was all free, I hope.
The only issue I’ve been having lately has been with my air mattress. I thought that it had deflated the last few nights because it had been extremely cold, however, even now that it is warmer it continued to lose pressure overnight, and I have woken up every few hours to pump more air into it. This angered me considerably as I don’t sleep well. I want the manufacturer condemned to sleep on it for the rest of their lives. I’ve ordered a new one to be delivered at a hotel in Suwannee when I arrive there in about 5 days.
The other folks staying at the camp were two kayakers also paddling their way down the Suwannee River, though they were planning to take two weeks to complete the journey. One of them, an older man in his 60s, told me he was recovering from cancer, though from the look of things he had yet to quit smoking. The other was a retired engineer from Boeing. We discussed at length the issues with the 737 max plane that had been in the news lately. He said that ever since Boeing had bought McDonald Douglas back in the 90s things had gone downhill as two engineering teams never really glued together. “When a merger happens a lot of people just end up fired. Management seems to think workers are like cogs in a machine, when really, it’s more like an arranged marriage with a bride you never meet. It could go well, but when it doesn't it really doesn't go well.”
Eventually someone mentioned if anyone had seen the news lately. A week ago, there was a sewage spill on the Withlacoochee River near Valdosta Georgia. A contractor doing maintenance work on at the wastewater plant forgot to connect the float switches at the influent pump station so the pumps didn't run, the high-level alarm didn't alarm anyone, and so the manhole overflowed with some 7 million gallons of raw influent ending up in the river. What the plant staff were thinking while for almost four days there was hardly any flow into the plant is sure to be a good story for the attorneys. I looked at the map and saw that the junction with the Withlacoochee river was still some 15 miles downstream so no problem here, but one week plus several miles of river will hopefully be enough to dilute and breakdown the waste. I wondered what the odds are of having to deal with two sewage spills in one journey.
Early afternoon when I reached the junction, but I did not notice any odors or difference in the water color (it’s all the same dark tea), I got in a cool off roll before the waters merged as I won’t be doing any for at least the next few days, just in case. Hopefully the slug of wastewater is past downstream already.
The Suwannee River is now about 150 feet from bank to bank. I saw a sign to watch out for jumping surgeons. The sign said these fish can be 8 feet long, weigh more than 200 pounds, and have a propensity to suddenly jump out the water. Sometimes they can even knock a person out of their boat. A few people had mentioned this to me, and that a few years ago there was a young girl who was knocked off her boat and drowned. I wonder why such a big fish feel the need to jump out of the water. Usually fish jump to flee from bigger fish, but I can’t imagine what creature would see a 200 pound fish and think, "oh, lunch!" Maybe there are things deep in the dark depths that are better left unknown...
I covered 35 miles today, but it hardly seems like a lot of distance on the map. The river has an uncountable number of bends. I think it will take 3 more days to reach Suwannee at the river mouth.
Sea Kayak Florida Circumnavigation