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John spends the night in a swamp, says it is "the most outrageous thing I have ever done in my life!"

posted: Jun 30, 11:45 AM

John made it to Port St. Joe from Panama City without trouble. On Saturday (June 26), he reached the eastern end of Mexico Beach and decided to anchor about 150 yards off of the shore so that he could try out sleeping in his boat.

He woke up at sunrise on Sunday and sailed toward Port St. Joe. The wind died at about 7:00am and he had to row for four hours in 90 degree heat. He arrived at the Port St. Joe marina and the people there were very nice and helpful. He decided to rest at the marina that afternoon and camped there overnight.

On Monday John entered the industrial canal at about 9:30am and rowed in the rain all day. At one point he saw a manatee – it looked up at him, then flipped it’s tail on the water. After he turned southeast on the intracoastal canal, he began to travel through thick marsh and swampland. John says it was the most beautiful part of the trip thus far – a full-fledged swamp – cypress – sweetgrass – palm fronds, he couldn’t stop taking photographs. When entered Lake Wilco a storm blew up with thunder and lightning. He continued to row and knew that he would not make Apalachicola by nightfall.

At dusk he began to mentally prepare for sleeping in his boat. Then he spotted a small tributary and decided to row upriver in hope of finding some land to camp on. He found a small patch of land about 10 feet wide, surrounded by water and only about 3 inches from the surface at high tide. He pitched his tent quickly and got in.

John said that camping in the swamp was freaky, surreal and bizarre – “the most outrageous thing I have ever done in my life.” All night he was amazed at the noises he heard – fish, fowl, mammal, reptile, tree limbs crashed down nearby and he could hear growling and chirping sounds. He said it was “surreal – you just don’t know what is coming at you.”

He woke up on Tuesday morning to a lightning storm that kept him in his tent for an extra hour. He finally threw the soaking wet tent into the boat, pumped out the water in the hull and rowed through the rain to Scipio Creek Marina in Apalachicola.

Today he plans to head toward Carrabelle, FL.

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