Impenetrable Swamps (Day 112)


When you travel by boat, you miss much of what’s on land. Labels on our navigation charts give us clues to what we are passing. Today, it was miles of “impenetrable swamps.” I wondered if they are truly impenetrable, and what it would be like to try. Jeff said they reminded him of the Sturgeon River Sloughs in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve been in those sloughs on my paddle board. It was a bit weird. I don’t think I would try it here.

Florida’s “impenetrable swamp”

These are the low-lands of the Florida panhandle, with dense grasses and mostly-scrubby trees and evidence of hurricane damage. I kept hoping to see an alligator — but nope, not today.

Our 42-mile trek from the Grand Lagoon (really a large bay) east of Panama City to Apalachicola was smoother than expected. The wind did wake us about 3 a.m., as expected, but never whipped up to forecast levels. We pulled anchor and sort of tip-toed out of the choppy, shallow bay (we had anchored in five feet or less of water) to immediately enter a calm, straight canal. We heard the small craft advisory for the Gulf of Mexico on the radio and were prepared to duck into a protected anchorage to wait it out, but this part of the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway was at least five miles inland and those winds didn’t reach us.

So it was a relaxing cruise again, highlighted by the odd leftovers of storms along the shoreline and another odd boat or two. We were surprised to encounter current again, our first since leaving the river system. Tonight, we are tied to a wall in the small port town of Apalachicola, near the east end of the panhandle. ($85/night here, with no toilet facility, but at least we have water and electricity. Supply, demand, etc.) After two nights at anchor, it’s nice to be around activity — and our Looper friends.

More about this quirky little town in the next post. Photos and captions below.

Another derelict boat on the shore of the intercoastal waterway, presumably abandoned after a hurricane. We’ve seen so many of these. I always wonder if the owner had insurance, and why doesn’t somebody move it anyway?
It’s not just boats that are abandoned along the shore. We saw many small buildings like this also.
This one was a house! The satellite dish was still clinging to the roof as a kind of mocking reminder that technology is no match for destructive weather.
Flat, flat, flat. But beautiful in its way!
The sign on this boat says “Swamp Shanty.” A phone number is included. Is the owner trying to rent it out??
We passed through our first RR swing bridge which somebody thoughtfully left open for passing boats.
We emerged from the narrow canal to find wide water again, approaching the port town of Apalachicola on the Gulf of Mexico.
An unusual treat in this port, just a block from our boat: live music, in an open-air garage. With an accordion! Do you see any jackets? Nope. It’s hard to remember that snow covers the ground in northern Michigan and deer season is in full swing!

2 thoughts on “Impenetrable Swamps (Day 112)

  1. Tuulen Aura spent four months in Apalachicola back in “94. You’ve got to try the raw oysters along with a pitcher of Yuengling beer brewed in Pennsylvania. Great treat!! If you can’t handle the oysters raw try them in a fried oyster sandwich.

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