This is your fearless captain reporting to you from the runway, just before take-off . . .
in this 13-foot flat-bottom boat commonly called an airboat. Does it fly? You bet it does! After pushing this baby off the boat trailer, and making sure all systems are GO . . .
D.R. skims us gently across the deep marsh grass toward a trainasse (small canal) where the bow dips down toward the water . . .
and plop! swoosh! just like that we’re in the water face to face with the skeletal remains of a once-thriving cypress swamp. Dead now due to what, class?
We idle past cypress knees, which once served as aerial roots and intricate anchoring systems for these once-living trees. Dead now due to what, class?
Once beyond the ruins . . .
D. puts the pedal to the metal, and we fly across the surface of the shallow water, barely making a ripple.
The water and airways teem with wood ducks, mallards, Summer French, gallinules, poole d’eau (water hens), white pelicans, plus the usual wading birds.
As the water below us turns to mud, D. assures me we could continue without getting stuck. But with the sun getting low in the sky, and the temperature dropping to around 30 tonight, I just can’t fathom even the slightest possibility of spending the night out here.
So we turn around, and in no time at all, we are back where we started.
D. eases the bow onto the bank and hollers, “HANG ON!” right before he guns it putting us safely on terra firma.
“Wow, Mom, that was awesome!”
And then somebody got a lesson in driving an airboat!
And somebody else got very jealous . . .
until she got a lesson of her own, that is!
And then up,
up she went onto the trailer and back to the camp.
Great caution is exercised in operating these vessels. They are steered by those two big rudders you see in the rear, and this one is powered by a 260 HP aircraft engine and a huge propeller. And the headphones protect us from the loud noise of that high-powered engine. A Teflon plate covers the bottom, making it glide across water, mud, even thick marsh grass!
What a great thrill riding in an airboat. The only greater thrill is DRIVING one!
Wind in my hair,
OU, ou, me, me! This classmate says, “saltwater intrusion”. I win, I win! Wait, is this a contest or a test?
Seriously, Keep educating the public and keep planting that Marsh Grass.
Very good, Stephanie! Yes, you win a prize!!!
It is fun, Rebel!!!
Heidi, I’d be afraid to ride one on an icy lake, but snow might be pretty fun!! And yes, saltwater intrusion, you get an “A” for the day!
There was a guy out our way that got one of these. It was funny seein’ it go around the hay field around the bales of hay and then into the pond. Too much fun.
Salt water intrusion. Do you think those things will work on snow????
BW, I have only been on 2 rides in the Everglades. I could go for another right now. Well I would like it to be warmer. It is 4 where I live in IL.
Sheryl, welcome to the warm 40 degree wetlands!!! Illinois? Do you know one of the commenters here, Blufloyd? He’s from near Chicago somewhere!
And Blu, I thought you had given up making us use our decoder rings with the new year?! Termite would love an 8hp Honda–would set him free and make him legal. I’m not sure what MD would have to worry about. And your spelling would be perfect with one less “t”. I don’t like the name Catfish for a dolphin. And stop burning your lungs like that. It’s no fun.
Lily, it was chilly, but it was soooooo warm when we stopped!
For 3 straight years before I moved to this little town on the frozen tundra.
-17 today since you asked. An Airboat was parked on edge of town. 8 liter caddie engine. Where it went I got no idea.
M_D got cause to worry?
I really like the little 8hp honda powered units for batteau’s. Did I spell that right?
Going to bed now to have irrational dreams of being a redfish guide whose clients ride on asian waterbuffalo with a pet dolphin named Catfish.
Have another hit of fresh air?
I almost frostbit my lungs last time.
Wendy, Thanks for showing us the dead cypress. It must be very cold on the water!
How cool. Hope you liked the lay of the land. I’m envious of Termite’s education.
That looks like so much fun! The wind in my hair (trying to not think of the bugs in the teeth), the sights and sounds and smells! Your so lucky!
Mike was asking me if you bought an airboat… I told him certainly you would have told me if you did! So I’ve never been on an airboat ride. When’s this guy taking me? I don’t think Mike’s been either. (BTW, we don’t want to go until it’s at least 70 again! I’m a wimp.)
I’ll sit next to Dotter!
WOW! I bet that was chilly! Are you thinking of adding that kind of boat to your offerings, Captain?
Looks like a great day out with your son.