**21 January 2017**
While in the States for a short visit Carrie and I joined her son Jason and several of his buddies today for a day on the water with a “Florida Cracker” twist. Sadly, Jason’s wife Barbara had to work and couldn’t join us.
Carrie grew up in South Florida, frequently riding on and driving airboats built by her father, both in the shallows of the Everglades and the deeper tidal waters near the Gulf. While this wasn’t my first airboat ride, this is still a new experience for me.
We joined a caravan of three big pickup trucks, each towing an airboat, heading to Lake Okeechobee in the center of the state. After backing the boats into the water and donning ear protection, we roared off along the southern rim of the lake.
The weather cooperated in glorious fashion with blue skies and that famous Florida sunshine all day. We joined two other airboats along the way, making one or two stops to “chew the fat” and rest our ears. I was going to say “smell the swamp mud” but that lovely smell was with us for most of the day, whether we moved along or not.
We even pulled out a grill at one stop and enjoyed a barbeque. There was Country Music along with great stories and lots of laughter for all to enjoy.
Probably the least enjoyable aspect of the day was the monstrous swarm of mosquitoes that greeted us at the ramp as we hauled the boats out at sundown. But we waved and swatted them away while we packed up and said our good-byes while darkness closed in.
Good food, refreshments, great people and a day on the water. Sound familiar?